First and Second Amendment Blues

“If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
Source: United States Suprime Court Justice William J. Brennan

I went looking for just the right words to start this post. And found them coming from what, at first glance, might be considered a very odd choice. Justice Brennan is considered by many to be one of the most, if not the most progressive Justice of the last century. For much of that hundred years, those on the left and far left, embraced the first amendment with an almost singular passion and devotion. Other amendments may have caught their eye from time to time, as the situation warranted, but the first … ahhh the first … that was theirs! Freedom of Speech was paramount, above all else. Nothing (and no body) was sacred in their free flowing verbal onslaught. Especially from the mid 60’s to the current day, it was “Truth to Power” baby!

For those of us in our 50’s and older who remember the changing of the guard with Cronkite’s overt handling of the news vis-a-vie Viet Nam, and Woodward & Bernstein as the media tipping point (for the most part) and the actions of a portion of our fellow “youth” of that time, and of course the rebels on campus, in the media, and print. The seeds may have been planted a generation or two before ours, but the rotted fruit from those seeds was there for the taking starting in the mid 60s. And it never stopped.

Now here is the first part which will perhaps make you wonder. Other than those who went beyond mere thoughts and words, the ones who actually acted on what they said or specifically provided plans of action and specific timetables for same (the Weather Underground for example), even though I may find the content of their words to be offensive on any level it is with in their “rights” to put it out there. What kind of verbal response they get for it is something they might not like, expect, or agree with. But such is the result of having a society in which freedom of speech, especially that which is of a political nature is going to produce.

Some speech is thought provoking, some provocative. Other is offensive and childish. Some is just plain stupid. (Or at best poorly thought out.) But all is protected by the first amendment.

Or it was up until a day or so ago.

It would appear those very same folks who champion the first amendment. will seek to limit its authority, its status as an inalienable right, to those whose ideals, thoughts, and words are not in alignment with theirs. (Hypocrisy meet Progressives, Progressives meet Hypocrisy … oh I see you both are well aquatinted … never mind, shall we continue?)

Now I don’t know Travis Corcoran. I know I have seen him around the net, and I know I have visited his site. I provide the link but as noted elsewhere, it is down with both a 403 AND 404 errors popping up. I would like to believe this is due to heavy traffic, vice government interference, but the cynic in me wonders. In any case, I hope he is back up and about soon. I don’t agree with what he said, but to quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall (who is paraphrasing Voltaire); “I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This is as far as this whole thing should have transpired. Apparently the Arlington Ma. PD felt differently (whether acting alone, or on additional information, or pressure from outside sources, or sources higher up, remains to be seen at this point). They have not only revoked his firearms license, but have confiscated at least some, if not all, of his personal “collection” of firearms. As noted at Borepatch, Neanderpundit , and many others to come, this is a direct violation of the second amendment.

For whatever reason, it appears the government has been targeting those who are not in alignment with them or their agenda. This is, to the best of my memory the most blatent act against the first two amendments which I can ever recall seeing.

Remember the following, it is directly applicable to this.

First they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Source: Pastor Martin Niemoller

It is for this reason, if there were no others*, like Borepatch, and Og at Neanderpundit, I too am TJIC.



And with the welcome addition of Mark Alger at Baby Troll Blog and at Eternity Road , the ranks grow larger. Borepatch has a much more detailed list here.
Also, as an aside, like Borepatch notes at his site feel free to take the graphic above (and attribue same to Borepatch, by linking to his original post please!!). The one in the sidebar was based on his work, but modified by me. I would consider it a kindness, should you chose to use it, to attribute it to him as well. All I did was fine tune it a bit.
Apparently USA Today finds all of us who are gathering together in voicing our outrage to Travis’s travails, along with our general distain toward those who would trample on our 1st and 2nd amendment rights, as being “associates” of Travis. Personally I would not mind that at all, if it were true. But alas, I have never met the man in person, nor have any of us received our boatloads of cash from the vaults of the vast right wing conspiracy (though I wait by my mail box every day hoping a check will show up … guess they are like the old Publisher’s Clearing House, just a bunch of big teases).

*I am willing to bet TJIC and I may share more then just our fondness for comics, I doubt we are in lock step, but I bet we would find a beer or two and some good conversation to be quite a good thing.


Filed under Constitution, News of the Day, Politics, Scribbles

36 responses to “First and Second Amendment Blues

  1. This is so very well said.

    • Spent better then 20 years defending and protecting that pesky Constitution, so this did push a few buttons on a personal level. Will be very interesting to see how it develops.

      And thanks for stopping by, and for the kind words.

    • Thank you for stopping by! Popped over to your home on the web, and as soon as I am able to untangle the mess blogrolling made of my main list of folks, when they up and shut their service down, I expect there will be at least two new additions, yours and Borepaths, (from his comment above).

  2. Thank you for your support!

    • Travis, as I mentioned at Eternity Road, if you need a soap box while yours is “out to lunch”, so to speak, drop me an email and I will get you on here ASAP. I have little else I can offer, but at least this much I can do.

  3. oldmanchronos

    I’ve got the site:

    It’s a shame the government decided to censor the site. They wouldn’t want this to get out.

    *believe that assassinating politicians is sometimes valid (Hitler)
    *believe that it’s better to assassinate a small number of politicians rather than kill a large number of draftees (WWII)
    *agree that it’s sometimes legitimate for citizens to rebel against democratic governments
    *agree that the ends do not justify the means, and are not willing to cause massive war for little purpose
    *agree that the Arizona shooting was a tragedy
    *agree that it is not legitimate to assassinate politicians in the US today
    *have said some tasteless things among friends in your life that had the potential to play very poorly in a different audience

    • Whether you like or agree with what an individual says, or not, as our charter stands right now, it is (especially in the realm of politics and political speech) their inalienable right to be able to say it, local, State, and Federal governments be damned!

  4. I surely hope you appreciate my difficulty with this symbol standing alone. The SKUNCs are everywhere but One. Fear the Higher Authority You Arrogant Despots.

    • I left you a (most likely long winded) comment over at your post on this. I would have tossed the “SKUNC’s” in the above post somewhere, had I felt it would have fit into the tone of what I was specifically trying to say. You are correct in that they (the SKUNC’s) are everywhere, at every level of government. It appears they are functioning quite well in Massachusetts, for not a word has been heard from any conservative (or “so called conservative”, aka a SKUNC) in demanding Travis is either formally charged with something which would require the suspension of his permit, and the removal of his firearms … and was directly attributed to his supposed threatening language; or is immediately exonerated, all possessions and statuses returned/re-instated at the earlest possible opportunity.

      But this hasn’t happened. And looks like until the matter is brought to court, it will not. If there were any real leaders of a conservative … hell just a constitutional abiding nature, none of this would be, or would have happened.

      Keep your powder dry my friend.

  5. cmblake6

    A link to this will be up at mine in just a minute.

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  9. Thank you for speaking out. As a MA resident, blogger and gun owner, this hits very close to home. As you said, I do not know the man personally but “I am TJIC”

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  11. Vinnie From Indy

    Obviously many of you never read more than the original post by Travis. While I am a bit surprised that the police conficated Travis’s weapons, I am not at all surprised that he was interviewed by not only the local authorities, but the feds as well. Travis quite clearly stated in his responses to folks on his blog that he completely agrees with and supports the ASSASSINATION of politicians. His ONLY caveat was that this MAY not be the time for it because it would not change anything. Corcoran laid out his extremist religious beliefs as well in his follow-up blogs about murdering innocent people solely because they are politicians. HE believes that it is not a sin to assassinate politicians under the Just War doctrine of the Catholic Church.

    In short, it might very well be that the police over-reacted to Corcoran’s bloodthirsty, insensitive posts about the Gifford’s shooting. It could also be that Corcoran said something in the initial interview with the police that led to the guns being confiscated.

    As and aside, one wonders how many supporting Corcoran would be doing so had he been a Muslim with a blog and writing the same thing. I find it fascinating that so many supporting Corcoran seem to have no problem with the torture of the Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning or the Bush-era decree that the President can whack American citizens (Muslims) in foriegn lands with no due process. At least have the courage of your convictions and speak out against these even more heinous attacks on our Constitution.


    • Vinny,
      Speaking for those who have commented here, or lurk deep in the shadows; how would you know if they have stopped by Travis’s site or not? Speaking just for myself, I know I have. I was not a frequent visiter by any stretch, but I know I had passed by his home on the web more then once.

      It has also been addressed here (and most other blogs I have been to which are referencing this event, or have lept on the “I am TJIC” bandwagon) that most, if not all, are not in agreement with what he said, but they would (and heaven help us all when, or if, it comes to this) defend to the death his right to say it.

      That being said, I will take a look at the “Just War Doctrine” of the Catholic Church. I was raised such, but have no recollection of same, though by the time I really got into the mechanics of church indoctrination and dogma, I was already starting to rebel against organized religion, this and my own failings pushed me away from the church. Time, the maturation process, and a just and loving God, may see me return, if not to the church proper, at least toward her teachings. But that is a topic for another time. I add some depth to this only so you understand I do not take, what may be considered hints of “anti-Catholic bias”, when you declare Travis’s beliefs as “extremist religious beliefs” , lightly. But the “Just War Doctrine” sounds intriguing on the face of it.

      Regardless of what Travis said, being no warrant was issued, no charge was filed, he was not arrested, apprehended, and placed into custody. Indeed, as has been stated elsewhere, Travis voluntarily brought his firearms in, inorder to keep his ability to still own and posses same. It was claimed he would not lose this status if he did so. That this was proven false almost immediately, (he did lose his status, it was suspended) tells me there was some sort of agenda here. In short the whole thing stinks.

      Now to your final statement. If a Muslim, a Hindu, a Hebrew, a Seventh Day Adventist, or a Hedonist each had a blog, and posted the same thing, and for the sake of argument, the statements, in and of themselves, were the only things being addressed, then no, I would not have a problem with saying their rights (assuming they all were US citizens) were all grossly compromised.

      But I don’t believe that was where you were going with that. Comparing a Muslim posing inflammatory statements against sitting members of our government, especially if the one who posts belongs to a group whose documents and charters oppose all which we stand for (and yes I have read the Quran and large chunks of the Hadith, it is diametrically apposed to Western Civilization, Judio-Christian ethos, and our “rule of law”.

      In short your example is a strawman … apples meet oranges.

    • Michael Ring

      Nice to see you again Vinny.

      I didn’t expect to find you transposing your own inner conflicts on to Travis at someone else’s blog. What’s issues do you have with religion and other points of view.

      You know Travis not only has been cleared by Massachusetts and the FBI for the guns, but also for security clearances for the work he does. You know that just a few months a go, he was hit and chased by another driver that followed him home and threaten him on his property. You rather than legal shoot this person, he called the Arlington police and worked with them to resolve the matter.

      Don’t forget that I have years of posts and the comments that went with them. Including your most hateful comments. Maybe you should take some time and reflect on what troubles you.

      • Michael, thanks for stopping by. And don’t worry about Vinny too much, he has already been moved to the “kids table” for better monitoring, and easy clean up of spilled sippy cups. Any further antics will see him escorted to the door.

      • Vinnie From Indy

        Gee Mike, I have no idea what you are referring in regard to my “hateful” posts. You are simply making that up.

        You might be surprised to know that I have actually defended Travis on other boards. I will repeat that I am not comfortable with the police confiscating Travis’s weapons without due process, but I was not there when he was interviewed and have no idea what transpired.

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  13. Vinnie From Indy

    After re-reading the original post, the only thing I can say is that the author of this blog appears to be quite selective in his outrage. Where was the breathless blogs admonishing the likes of GW Bush and his assault on the freedoms spelled out in the Constitution? Where is this authors clarion call to arms in regard to Bradley Manning the Wikileaks suspect being held in solitary confinement? The hypocrisy is at such a furious level as to melt steel. What is it about right-wingers that makes them think that the nakedness of their hypocrisy and selectivity won’t be challenged?

    Where is the furious call for our government (Bush and Obama) to renounce the idea that the President can KILL an American citizen living in Yemen with ZERO due process?

    In short, I find it typical for righties to be VERY selective in their outrage. If I am wrong, where is this bloggers scathing rebukes of GW Bush’s assaults on our Constitional freedom? Let’s see it?

    • Most of the people I know on the Right were critical of GWB whenever he would play fast and loose with the Constitution (for instance, the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act). I didn’t have a blog at the time so I can’t show you where I was critical. FWIW, I didn’t and still don’t like the Patriot Act, I thought it was a knee-jerk response that was poorly thought out.
      PVT Manning is being held in accordance with the UCMJ, and is not being treated any differently than any other military prisoner being held in solitary in accordance with the UCMJ. Manning is a soldier, and will be tried in the military system. You may not like it (and I don’t give a damn) but the military shoots it’s own dogs, so to speak.
      Bush is no longer in the Government, time to let the BDS go. The courts have decided the President is within his rights to order the execution of Americans in Yemen, I don’t agree with that and neither has anyone else that has written about it, but that’s not here and now on American soil.
      I have never been to TGIC and that’s why I haven’t posted on the subject. I do find it very troubling that the State would sieze weapons and cancel a license without due process, but then again I think the idea of licensing and registering weapons is abhorrent, and specifically for this reason. The ability to license is the ability to deny, and registries have historically been used to sieze weapons.
      Everyone, gunny or not, should be outraged at this. Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of American freedoms, and if one person can be silenced, no one is safe.
      I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it with my life if needed. That’s why I wore the uniform for 20 years.
      Sorry for sucking up your bandwidth Guy.

      • Larry, suck up all the bandwidth you want! I gave Vinny the benefit of the doubt, but it appears he is just another little progressive gibbon, flinging his poo hither and yon.

        I liked Bush, I felt his heart was always in “the right place”, but that does not excuse (nor should it) the number of poorly thought out policy and decisions he made while in office. (Amnesty for illegals, TSA/Homeland Security/Patriot Act, “Compassionate Conservatism”, just to name a few.)
        And you are correct in the military handling their own IRT Pvt Manning. Vinny has no clue what goes on at correctional custody units or even full fledged federal prisons, such as Leavenworth. Nor is he familiar with what really constitutes “torture”. If you have pulled any time as Shore Patrol, Brig Chasing, or the like, you are probably at least passingly familiar with the Correctional Custody folks (been there, done that), if you had the opportunity to “fly SERE D” (West), you have had a bit more then a passing glance at what constitutes “torture”.

        Anyhow Vinny’s days here are numbered unless he starts conducting himself along the lines of behaving like a guest, vice a bore.

    • Having been blogging (and commenting in one form or another) since the late 90’s, I sincerely doubt you have any real clue as to what I have written about. This version of “Snugg Harbor” is about the 5th incarnation. But let me give you a heads up.
      Islam and it’s goals has been a topic here. (Have you read the Quarn and associated documents? Do you understand the proper priority one must take in following same?)
      John Kerry, John McCain, (How are they alike, how are they different, which is an out and out traitor to his country, and which is just a fool/opportunist.)
      Progressives/Liberals/Socialists/Communists (compair and contrast … is it possible)
      The “search for the mythical moderate muslim” , as in letters to, from the civilized world.

      Just a sample of where my posts have gone. You are welcome to take a look, but something tells me you may have trouble with the polysyllabic …. big words … so bring a dictionary and a thesaurus. And don’t forget your thinking cap!

      Oh, and the phrase “Double Secret Probation” would be directly applicable to you, or to put it another way; you have reached strike two, one more and you’re outta here.

      • Michael Ring

        I’ll say Travis is a unique individual. On the same day as the 1 down post, he put up:

        Hats off to “thousands of Muslims” for defending Coptic Christians

        [T]housands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass ….

        I strongly commend these brave and tolerant Muslims.

        I really can’t say enough good about folks who do things like this.

        There are great people among every race and nationality.

        …and, even in the midst of a poisonous religion, there are people who care about their neighbors and will put their own physical well being on the line to protect them.


        My hat is off.

        His friends have told him that sometimes he’s a bit to quick with the post button. But he stands by his actions and accepts responsibility for them.

      • Vinnie From Indy

        In regard to Bradley Manning, it isn’t just my opinion that his detention is not SOP for the military, it is also the opinion of the former Headquarters Commander of the Marine Corps brig in Quantico Capt. David MacMichael and many others including Amnesty International.

        I had a difficult time understanding the above post. It appears you dislike the English language as much as you dislike folks that simply disagree with you or ask hard questions and the like.


  14. Vinny, what part of my comment above (to Larry) did you fail to grasp? Failing that, had you taken a look at the “about” page, you would see I am retired Navy, (And if you look at Larry’s site … guess what, he is too.) I don’t know if you have worn the uniform, but I would venture to guess, just because you saw “The Last Detail” a couple of times, you are under the misguided assumption that you are now an expert on military incarceration/adjudication. (Oh, and let’s not forget “A Few Good Men”, and videos of the hi jinx at Abu-Grab.)

    And once you reach a reading comprehension level, allowing you to understand polysyllable words, perhaps posts produced by adults will not be so very hard to understand. As far as grammatical errors go, I will freely admit to making a boat load of them. Once I have a proof-reader, and or editor to handle my rough drafts, this should no longer be a concern, though my lotto numbers keep falling shy of the mark in allowing me this luxury, so suck it up bunky, hasn’t seemed to bother most other folks who stop by.

    • Vinnie From Indy

      My lotto numbers have been a bust as well!

      As I wrote upthread, it is not only my opinion that Bradfley Manning is being treated differently than other prisoners, it is also the opinion of the former commander of Headquarters Division at Quantico where Manning is being held in a Marine Corps. Brig. (Capt. David MacMillan)

      Tell ya what, I will refrain from calling you a FAUX News, Rush “Hillbilly Heroin” Limbaugh disciple if you will refrain from insulting me. What do you say? I will be a perfect gentleman from here on out and let’s have a good debate! I’m game if you are!

      Vinnie From Indy

      • Michael Ring

        Ah Vinnie, a leopard cannot change its spots. You always lose it after the first paragraph.

      • It doesn’t matter who’s opinion is being looked at, the fact is he is being treated exactly like every other prisoner being held in solitary. The only exception was when he was put on suicide watch for a couple of days, which his lawyers got him off of. He is being tried in the military courts under the UCMJ, and that is quite a bit different than being tried in a civil court under civilian law.
        Capt. MacMillan was medically retired from wounds received in Korea over fifty years ago and never had any connection to the brig, not in Quantico and not anywhere else either. His opinions hold no more weight for being a Marine fifty years ago than anyone else’s. In fact, given his associations (he’s a 9-11 truther, for instance) I would probably give his opinions a bit less credence. Trot him out all you want, but I’m not impressed. I once served on a military jury (a damn sight less than fifty years ago), it doesn’t make me any more qualified than anyone else to judge how the military is treating PVT Manning, and in fact it makes me a lot less qualified than some (a JAG lawyer or judge, for instance).
        By the way, a Marine Captain is an O-3. That’s a JUNIOR officer, and he would have been a division or department head and that’s it. “Commanding Officer, HQ Company, Quantico” sounds very impressive, but in fact it’s pretty low on the totem pole. Think manager of an HR department and it’s a pretty good analogy.
        Call me anything you want, it’s not going to make a bit of difference.

  15. Thank you Larry for picking up my slack. Vinny, you are going to find someone who is either currently in, or has served in the military who would back up your views on just about anything or any topic you might chose to discuss. The fact is, members of the military are NOT robots, automatons who are incapable of having thoughts of their own, many times in direct conflict with what might be considered “the military way of life, or way of doing things”. It is because we allow for (and at least when I was in) encourage individuals to think on their own (often times outside the box, so to speak) that we are able to get as much done as we do. And is also what causes many of the great military leaders to “come to the fore”, when they are most needed. The Captain you happen to mention, as Larry notes, was an O-3. That is, his rank is only third from the bottom (officer ranking starts at O-1 and goes up from there). It would be the same as regular LT in the Navy. I would also suspect there are any number of folks in the services who feel our Correctional custody system is far from what they would have in place were they the Commander-in-Chief, just as there are those who feel we should go back to “keel hauling”, and securing folks to the “main mast” for forty lashes of the whip.

    Also, if you were not aware of it already, ALL members of the military are no longer subject to the protections afforded one under the Constitution. That is to say we are not under its “protection”. We (freely) give up our rights and guarantees, once we take the Oath. This is countered with The Uniform Code of Military Justice (or UCMJ for short). Under the UCMJ we are afforded much of the same “rights” and “privileges” as exist under the Constitution, but the big difference is everything “granted” under the UCMJ may be taken away, to some degree or another, should the need or occasion arise. In other words, the UCMJ, in and of itself is what “grants” us these things, they are no longer “inalienable rights” given to us by a higher source.
    It is, or sometimes can be, a very different world or set of conditions which we oberate under in the military. To expect or even demand that we are to indulge in operating the same way (which in my mind can sometimes be worse) as our civilian counterparts, is to ignore the nature and potential environments in which the military member may (and is) subjected to.

    We have to play by different rules so as to allow us the ability to secure YOUR freedoms and liberties as enumerated under the Constitution.

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