Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘First Amendment’

Anti-Censorship Laws DO NOT Apply To Private Enterprise

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

For all the hoopla being raised by Banana Republicans parading as GOP types, including the Loser in Chief, about the decision Twitter made to cut him (and others) off from their private non-governmental service, and who are calling it “censorship,” the United States Supreme Court has some news for you:

Censorship laws DO NOT apply to the Private Sector.

Period.

If you don’t like it, take it up with those who decided it: KAVANAUGH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.

The case was Argued February 25, 2019 — Decided June 17, 2019, and named Manhattan Community Access Corp. et al. v. Halleck et al.

In a Certiorari to The United States Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit, No. 17–1702, the court ruled that “The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits only governmental, not private, abridgment of speech,” and held that MNN (private nonprofit corporation, petitioner Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN)) was not a state actor subject to the First Amendment.

The court wrote further, that, “A private entity may qualify as a state actor when, as relevant here, the entity exercises “powers traditionally exclusively re-served to the State.” The precedent for that decision was rendered in the case Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U. S. 345, 352.

“The Court has stressed that “very few” functions fall into that category. Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U. S. 149, 158.”

In the decision, the court wrote in part that,

“Under the state-action doctrine as it has been articulated and applied by our precedents, we conclude that operation of public access channels on a cable system is not a traditional, exclusive public function. Moreover, a private entity such as MNN who opens its property for speech by others is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor. In operating the public access channels, MNN is a private actor, not a state actor, and MNN therefore is not subject to First Amendment constraints on its editorial discretion. We reverse in relevant part the judgment of the Second Circuit, and we remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

The background facts of the case which formed the basis of the suit are fairly straight-forward, and reads as follows:

“DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Papoleto Melendez produced public access programming in Manhattan. They made a film about MNN’s alleged neglect of the East Harlem community. Halleck submitted the film to MNN for airing on MNN’s public access channels, and MNN later televised the film. Afterwards, MNN fielded multiple complaints about the film’s content. In response, MNN temporarily suspended Halleck from using the public access channels. Halleck and Melendez soon became embroiled in another dispute with MNN staff. In the wake of that dispute, MNN ultimately suspended Halleck and Melendez from all MNN services and facilities. Halleck and Melendez then sued MNN, among other parties, in Federal District Court. The two producers claimed that MNN violated their First Amendment free-speech rights when MNN restricted their access to the public access channels because of the content of their film.

“MNN moved to dismiss the producers’ First Amendment claim on the ground that MNN is not a state actor and therefore is not subject to First Amendment restrictions on its editorial discretion. The District Court agreed with MNN and dismissed the producers’ First Amendment claim.

“The Second Circuit reversed in relevant part. 882 F. 3d 300, 308 (2018). In the majority opinion authored by Judge Newman and joined by Judge Lohier, the court stated that the public access channels in Manhattan are a public forum for purposes of the First Amendment. Reasoning that “public forums are usually operated by governments,” the court concluded that MNN is a state actor subject to First Amendment constraints. Id., at 306–307. Judge Lohier added a concurring opinion, explaining that MNN also qualifies as a state actor for the independent reason that “New York City delegated to MNN the traditionally public function of administering and regulating speech in the public forum of Manhattan’s public access channels.” Id., at 309.

“Judge Jacobs dissented in relevant part, opining that MNN is not a state actor. He reasoned that a private entity’s operation of an open forum for speakers does not render the host entity a state actor. Judge Jacobs further stated that the operation of public access channels is not a traditional, exclusive public function.

“We granted certiorari to resolve disagreement among the Courts of Appeals on the question whether private operators of public access cable channels are state actors subject to the First Amendment. 586 U. S. __ (2018). Compare 882 F. 3d 300 (case below), with Wilcher v. Akron, 498 F. 3d 516 (CA6 2007); and Alliance for Community Media v. FCC, 56 F. 3d 105 (CADC 1995).”

Certiorari [pronounced “sir-sha-rar-ee”] is a writ [a written order issued by a court] seeking review of a lower court decision by a higher court.

The court wrote also that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Utah Female Church Member Raped, Church Forces Her To Listen To Her Rape Recording

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 15, 2020

If you thought it couldn’t get any more weird, think again.

There are actually TWO “issues” here:

1.) What the church did to her, and;
2.) How the news reporting media is handling it.

Let’s take the 2nd one first.

Nowadays, news reporting agencies do not name the victim in cases of news reports of sexual assaults. Not identifying the victim is a good, right, proper, and just response to the problems that often occurred as a consequential by-product of naming the victims in news stories. Naming the victim served no genuine need and had no purpose as it related to reporting the story, and so in response, for the greatest part, most news reporting agencies have declined to publish the victim’s name. The obvious exception is for the stories in which a victim names a well-known/high-profile individual as the assailant/perpetrator.

That I’ve been able to find so far, there are very few news stories about the matter, and none of them name the victim.

The Scott M. Matheson Courthouse, 450 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, is the location for the Utah Supreme Court.

While normally, that isn’t a problem, per se, in this case, however, the female victim has filed suit against the church and four elders, and her case has come before the Utah State Supreme Court.

Fundamentally, what that means, is that she is named in the case as the plaintiff.

So the news reporting agencies which wrote about the story fundamentally erred by not reporting the most basic and important fact as it exists, which indeed, forms the very basis of the story – that an important, and problematic question has come before the Utah State Supreme Court and revolves around a religious practice.

The primary extant stories on the matter are by Deseret News in Utah, and the Daily Beast. The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Salt Lake Tribune, Patheos, KSL Broadcasting, and Crime Online have also published stories about the matter.

The Deseret News “is the longest-running newspaper in Utah and the state’s oldest continuously operating business.” Their story – “Utah High Court Weighs Case Of Woman Who Says Church Made Her Listen To Audio Of Her RapeLower courts say First Amendment prevents juries from considering case, by Annie Knox @anniebknox November 9, 2020, 6:56pm MST – may be found here:
https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/11/9/21557200/utah-supreme-court-case-woman-says-church-made-her-listen-to-audio-of-her-rape-jehovahs-witnesses

The Daily Beast is a publicly-traded independent news organization focusing upon “original reporting and sharp opinion in the arena of politics, pop-culture and power.” Their story – “Will a Church Get Away With Making a Teen Listen to Recording of Her Rape?The Jehovah’s Witnesses of Roy, Utah, say their extreme interrogation of a teenage rape victim is protected religious practice., by Emily Shugerman, Gender Reporter, published November 14, 2020 7:15PM ET – may be found here:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/will-a-jehovahs-witnesses-church-get-away-with-making-a-teen-listen-to-recording-of-her-rape

The case is: Williams v. Kingdom Hall #20190422-SC

• The case filing may be found here:
https://law.justia.com/cases/utah/court-of-appeals-published/2019/20170783-ca.html

• Amicus briefs have been filed by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and may be found at:
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/our-work/defending-vulnerable-communities-sanctuary-cities-daca-and-more/williams-v-kingdom-hall/

• Appellate briefs may be found at the Utah State Court System website:
https://www.utcourts.gov/utc/appellate-briefs/2020/03/04/20190422-williams-v-kingdom-hall/

The oral argument before the Utah Supreme Court may be viewed online:

Now, let’s examine the first point of the matter – what the church did to her.

In order to more fully understand the question before the court, we need to know Read the rest of this entry »

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Texas’ Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz Blasting Twitter CEO Dorsey Proves He’s A Dingaling

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Seems ol’ Teddy Boy got hot under the collar at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during a Senatorial hearing today, Wednesday, 28 October 2020, which was conducted remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Frustrated at the responses, Ted Cruz screamed out at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey,

“Who the hell elected you? Why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?”

Ol’ Ted should remember that “Freedom of Speech and of the Press” (First Amendment Rights) do NOT apply to businesses.

Only to the government.

The Press – and for all practical purposes, Twitter is considered part of the Press – is free to publish, or not, what they want. They are free to censor as much as they like, or not.

In 2018, in a 5-4 ruling in the case “MANHATTAN COMMUNITY ACCESS CORP. ETAL. v. HALLECK ETAL.,” the Supreme Court ruled that

“The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits only governmental, not private, abridgment of speech.”

The majority opinion was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and was joined by Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett And Radicalism – Religious & Political

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of the sad and tragic news out of France, that recently, Samuel Paty, a 47-year old male teacher was brutally decapitated by a radicalized 18-year old, Russian-born male Muslim student. Though one committed the heinous act, at least 10 students have been arrested for participation in the plot. The prime suspect is a Chechen refugee.

According to Reuters, the episode began when several Muslim parents were angered earlier this month after Paty taught a mandatory “moral and civil education” class on freedom of expression, and had shown to his pupils 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which were originally published in a Danish newspaper before republication in Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical publication renown for their anti-establishment satire poking fun at the far right, and aspects of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam.

The Guardian reported that a parent of one of the students in Paty’s class had posted a response to an angry video complaining about the class. The respondent wrote: “I am a parent of a student at this college. The teacher just showed caricatures from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression. He asked the Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished, out of respect … He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence. This evening, I am sad, for my daughter, but also for teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed?”

The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo recently republished for a second time the same cartoons (also seen here) the day before the beginning of a French trial of Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Amy Coney Barrett Is Unqualified

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 8, 2020

True to form, radicalized, far right-wing political extremists are portraying Judge A.C. Barrett as a victim. The “poor, pitiful me” routine has taken hold in the GOP, Tea Party and other such ilk. Self loathing has never been more popular, it seems. But it does seem rather peculiar that it should find residence in the right, when for years we’ve been told that it is the political left who are such whiners and crybabies.

Aaaah… the political hypocrisy! You can smell the stench of its cooking all the way from the banks of the Potomac in Washington, D.C.

And the blindly vicious ambition! Its unmitigated violence permeates the miasmatic ether surrounding the city, all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, and beyond.

They’re both forms of pollution which Congress continues to ignore, and which are far more damaging than even dirty water, or air. For their poison, while not permanent like PFOS or PFAS, the man-made “forever chemicals” used in making non-stick coatings which are found even in newborns’ blood, there are few, if any, filters to remove such contaminants from the necessary processes we employ to govern ourselves.

While “organic,” such contaminants are far from resembling a healthy backyard compost pile where grass clippings, leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, and other such items begin their transformation process to become rich humus, fertile soil for vegetable and plant growth. Their forms, while neither ephemeral, nor impermanent, per se, are causative of other illnesses and diseases transmitted even to the 3rd and 4th generations, and beyond – all preventable – and must be guarded against by every generation.

The only difference being, is that disorders caused by those infections are preventable by conscience, not by manufacture. And the inoculation against such infection and affliction is love.

“Contrary to the impression many have of Barrett, what is most striking about her record is not the looming specter of theocracy, but her enduring opposition to what many Christians believe justice and mercy demand, presented under the aspect of originalism — an ersatz catechism, written in the pages of her judicial opinions, that fuses the political aims of the religious right with the constitutional theories of the late Antonin Scalia.”

There is NO “war” against religious faith in this nation, nor has there ever been. Neither has there ever been any alleged “war against Christmas” by our government, nor by its elected officials and administrators… like Federal judges, and other lifetime appointees. Although, it is curious how an officially non-sectarian, non-religious government sponsors a Federal holiday acknowledging a deity, thereby giving deference, homage and support to the same.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Rather, our Founders, not all of whom were religious-minded, were cognizant of others’ desires to express themselves through the practice of a privately-held conviction of faith – if they so chose – collectively and individually, according to the dictates of their conscience, and allowed to the greatest extent possible the practice of the same, without impingement upon the practices of government, and without obtruding upon others, who might, or not, agree with them. The Founders thought that aspect of individual liberty was so inherent, so inviolable, so sacrosanct to the public good, that they ensconced it, along with a few others, and made it and them First, and foremost among all others which followed.

Our fundamental foundational governing document, the Constitution, ensures and guarantees rights to Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and Read the rest of this entry »

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In Defense of Photographer Tyler Shields and Comedienne Kathy Griffin

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Much Ado About Nothing?

“Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” by Cristofano Allori, c.1613

Photographer Tyler Shields‘ recent depiction of comedienne Kathy Griffin holding an effigy of Donald Trump’s decapitated head is nothing new in artistic circles, neither is it new among political practitioners, or religious adherents.

“Judith Beheading Holofernes,” by Caravaggio, c.1598-1599

Caravaggio painted “Judith beheading Holoferenes” c.1600.

Cristofano Allori, completed “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” c.1613.

Artemisia Gentileschi, c.1614–18 similarly depicted that scene in “Judith slaying Holofernes.”

“Judith,” by Franz Stuck, 1928

Lucas Cranach the Elder completed “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” in 1530.

“Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, c.1530

The so-called “outrage” is focused upon the female model Kathy Griffin, not the male creator artist and photographer Tyler Shields.

Why?

Men have always been fearful of powerful women. And Tyler Shields’ photograph is nothing new under the sun.

In The Book of Judith Read the rest of this entry »

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We Need Prayer Back In Schools!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

We need prayer back in schools!,” said someone.

“Okay,” I said. “Whose prayer do you want? The Episcopalians? The Baptists? The Methodists? Church of Christ? What about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Or the Seventh Day Adventists? Do you want the Primitive Baptists, or the Free Will Baptists? Read the rest of this entry »

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American Entitlement Culture

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recently, I happened across an item which read “When they analyze the demise of western society due to the entitlement epidemic, it’ll trace back to giving kids awards just for showing up.”

Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to discern sarcasm when reading, and I rather suspect there is at least a smidgen of sarcasm in that brief remark.

Sarcasm, of course, can, and is often used to convey a truth, or truths about numerous subjects, and is a teaching tool, as well.

Because I often use dictionaries to aid my understanding, I chose to look up the definition of the word “entitlement.” Here’s what I found:
As a verb, to “entitle” is to give someone a legal right, or a just claim to receive or do something.

For example, in the United States, the First Amendment is an entitlement to Read the rest of this entry »

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Sure, money is power. But, is it also liberty and freedom? Or, is it a tool?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 3, 2012

As Bob Dylan sang some years ago, “The times, they are a-changin’.” Our laws should reflect those changes while adhering to the values ensconced in our Constitution. In essence, the argument is about freedom – freedom from the large corporations that supply “content” via the Internet. As well, openness and honesty – popularly termed as transparency – should be the hallmark of all dealings, by government and enterprise.

In short, what we’re encountering in this age, in this era, is an almost unprecedented and wholesale onslaught of money and the power that comes with it. It is, in essence, a corrupting influence. It is, in essence, a type of bribery – and bribery is itself, a form of theft. Bribery is a form of theft because it takes away, removes, or forbids resources from going where they ought, or rightfully should. In this case, it robs freedom from the people. Not only does it usurp their decision-making capacity, it is a blatant announcement and condemnation of freedom, because it says that the rich, the wealthy have freedom, while the poor and disenfranchised have none.

If – as the Supreme Court has declared – money is the equivalent of free speech, and neither cannot, nor should not be limited, what freedom does the poor man have? Again, if money is equated with free speech (that is, our First Amendment rights), the poor man has none. And that, my dear readers, is but one reason why such a ruling is not only ANTI-Constitutional, but is antithesis of freedom.

Making a further case, our nation’s specie – that is, the currency and coinage – is the property of the United States government. It is NOT private property. Money is a thing used to represent something else. So again, I ask rhetorically… in such instances, and in this case, what does it represent?

Google Says “It’s Our Web”–and they bought it fair and square

April 23, 2012

Who can forget then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s classic line at the 1980 New Hampshire candidate’s debate:  “I’m paying for this microphone!”  And Google probably is wishing that whichever Ivy League idiot thought of rebranding their anti-SOPA campaign site with the double entendre “It’s Our Web” had not been quite so…uh..transparent…about it all.

President Obama had dinner with technology moguls February 17, 2011 in California’s “Silicon Valley” at the home of John Doerr, venture capitalist and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in Woodside, California. Flanking the president are (L) the late Steve Jobs, Founder/CEO of Apple Computer, and (R) Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of FaceBook. Also present are:Cisco CEO John Chambers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech, is on the Apple board of directors, and was also present. White House press secretary Jay Carney said after the dinner President Obama exchanged ideas with the business leaders “so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States,” and discussed research and development spending proposals with the CEOs. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Because it certainly is “their web” and they bought it fair and square according to Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Desecrate Our American Flag

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Desecrate Our American flag:

Use it as clothing; place it on the ground, etc. The photog is a retired US Army LTC, MD (Lieutenant Colonel, O-5). Of all people, he SHOULD know better.

http://www.Flickr.com/people/PathDoc/

Desecration is defined as
• “the act of depriving something of its sacred character—or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred by a group or individual,;”
• to “treat (a sacred place or thing) with violent disrespect; violate;”
• “to profane or violate the sacredness or sanctity of something; to remove the consecration from someone or something; to deconsecrate;”
• as “an act of disrespect or impiety towards something considered sacred;”
• and to be “treated with contempt.”

Flag Desecration - writing on flag, and used as a garment

Flag Desecration - writing on flag, and used as a garment

Flag Desecration - flag on ground, written upon, used as garment

Flag Desecration - flag on ground, written upon, used as garment

The word “desecrate” is …Continue…

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A Short History of “Privacy” in American Jurisprudence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 3, 2010

[Note: This entry was originally entitled “Privacy,” and was transferred to this site, having previously been posted by me on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 2:57pm.]

“Privacy” is a relatively new term in American jurisprudence, and public dialogue. Former US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, an AL native, wrote against “privacy” in his dissent in Griswold v Connecticut.

The development of our right to privacy emerged, interestingly enough, from Griswold v Connecticut, a 1965 Supreme Court Case which challenged the state’s 1879 criminalizing of a married couple’s use of contraceptive devices. Appellants were the Read the rest of this entry »

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Sex, Drugs & Rock-n-Roll, “I want my MTV,” and… the end of Titty Bars.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 16, 2010

Ever been to a strip club?

It’s almost a “who hasn’t?” response.

We see them on teevee and in the movies, so if one has never been, it’s almost as if they have, even if they haven’t been physically.

Even Huntsville, Alabama – a conservative, strongly religious, Republican-leaning state, and Huntsville, it’s most highly educated city – has strip clubs.

Otherwise and sometimes known as titty bars, and a variety of other pseudonyms, the venues are typically bars or lounges where alcohol is served to predominately male patrons by female employees, and whom quaff their brews while seated together in a dark room watching a female dancer gyrate to various popular musical tunes, accompanied by various stages of disrobing.

Sometimes, depending upon locale and local or state law, the female dancers may be required to wear “pasties” which are opaque adhesive coverings which cover their areolae and nipples. Sometimes also – again, depending upon state and/or local law – alcohol may or may not be served, though it frequently is consumed on premises.

Typically, the dancers will be …Continue…

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