Posts Tagged Freedom of Speech
July 25, 2012
July 17, 2012
Pre-trial hearings are underway for Bradley Manning – the jailed US soldier accused of releasing information to Wikileaks. His lawyer claims Manning was tortured and treated worse than a terrorist during nearly two years in solitary confinement. He faces 22 charges including ‘aiding the enemy’ – which carries a death sentence.
July 12, 2012
When it comes to Americans having trust in the mainstream media, the numbers don’t lie. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 21 percent of Americans have confidence in television News. The decrease in viewership has become an alarming trend, and RT’s Liz Wahl has more.
“I don’t care about no damn lawsuit” officer yells at media
March 19, 2012
Two NBC journalists were handcuffed and threatened by Chicago police after attempting to report on the murder of a 6-year-old girl yesterday, NBC Chicago reports.
Another NBC journalist was also detained by police outside Mt. Sinai Hospital, where the girl had been taken following a fatal shootingduring city wide violence over the weekend.
Police were called to the hospital shortly after reporters arrived on the scene. The journalists said they has already moved away from a public sidewalk and across the street at the request of the police.
One police officer was then caught on camera telling other members of the media “Your First Amendment right can be terminated if you’re creating a scene or whatever. Your First Amendment right has got limitations.”
When the reporters asked for clarification on how they were creating a scene, the officer replied, “Your presence is creating a scene.”
“This is what we do for a living!” one reporter replied, before another added“You’ve got a lawsuit coming.”
“I don’t care about no damn lawsuit!” the officer fired back. “F*ck a lawsuit. Just ’cause you sue doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”
Photographer Donte Williams and WGN Reporter Dan Ponce were then handcuffed and briefly detained by the officer, who threatened them with trespassing charges.
March 5th, 2012
Japanese researchers have developed a gun that can silence people in mid-sentence. The Speech-Jamming gun can effectively jam the words of speakers who are over 100 feet away simply by pointing its visor at them. While countless jokes can be made about that gun (i.e. “I could use that on my wife” or “It was specifically designed for Kanye West”), the real purpose of it are not as funny. The gun is indeed being promoted as something useful to “mediate debates” or to “facilitate the quelling of protests”. There’s already “talks” of having such guns in public places such as libraries.
When there’s a way to make you physically unable to speak, we can say that free-speech is literally in danger. Like, literally. Here’s an article from ExtremeTech about the Anti-1st-Amendment device.
New speech-jamming gun hints at dystopian Big Brother future
Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun (pictured above) that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away. The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling.
The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.” In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce “proper” conversations.
The gun works by listening in with a directional microphone, and then, after a short delay of around 0.2 seconds, playing it back with a directional speaker. This triggers an effect that psychologists call Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), which has long been known to interrupt your speech (you might’ve experienced the same effect if you’ve ever heard your own voice echoing through Skype or another voice comms program). According to the researchers, DAF doesn’t cause physical discomfort, but the fact that you’re unable to talk is obviously quite stressful.
Speech jammer, in a librarySuffice it to say, if you’re a firm believer in free speech, you should now be experiencing a deafening cacophony of alarm bells. Let me illustrate a few examples of how this speech-jamming gun could be used.
At a political rally, an audience member could completely lock down Santorum, Romney, Paul, or Obama from speaking. On the flip side, a totalitarian state could point the speech jammers at the audience to shut them up. Likewise, when a celebrity or public figure appears on a live TV show, his contract could read “the audience must be silenced with speech jammers.”
Then there’s Harrison Bergeron, one of my favorite short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. In the story’s dystopian universe, everyone wears “handicaps” to ensure perfect social equality. Strong people must lug around heavy weights, beautiful people must wear masks, and intelligent people must wear headphones that play a huge blast of sound every few seconds, interrupting your thoughts. The more intelligent you are, the more regular the blasts.
Back here in our universe, it’s not hard to imagine a future where we are outfitted with a variety of implanted electronics or full-blown bionic organs. Just last week we wrote about Google’s upcoming augmented-reality glasses, which will obviously have built-in earbuds. Late last year we covered bionic eyes that can communicate directly with the brain, and bionic ears and noses can’t be far off.
In short, imagine if a runaway mega-corporation or government gains control of these earbuds. Not only could the intelligence-destroying blasts from Harrison Bergeron come to pass, but with Delayed Auditory Feedback it would be possible to render the entire population mute. Well, actually, that’s a lie: Apparently DAF doesn’t work with utterances like “ahhh!” or “boooo!” or other non-wordy constructs. So, basically, we’d all be reduced to communicating with grunts and gestures.
- Source: ExtremeTech
Video Of The Device In Action:
By Mac Slavo
February 22nd, 2012
With over 10 million guns sold in the United States in 2011, violent crime rising significantly as the economic crisis worsens, and self defense killings sky rocketing, it’s becoming increasingly unpopular for politicians to call for restrictions on firearms.
If anything, even though government officials in states like Illinois and New Jersey are attempting to outlaw guns completely, the public outcry has been deafening, with each attempt met by protests and solidarity from individual rights and gun advocates all over the country.
It’s clear that the majority of Americans support their inherent right to bear arms. But, even though the strategy of attacking our second Amendment is wholly unpopular and failing miserably, misguided government officials are beginning to explore ever more novel ways of circumventing the US Constitution and Second Amendment altogether.
Like New Jersey’s recent attempt to ban ammunition, Illinois is now taking aim at ammo.
This latest legislation would add a surtax to every box of ammunition sold, and if allowed, would set an alarming precedent that effectively threatens our ability to utilize a firearm for its intended purpose.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, in a bill introduced earlier this month, proposed a 2 percent surtax on ammunition. The proceeds would go toward a “high-crime trauma center grant fund,” which would then send the tax money to trauma centers in “high-crime areas.”
The idea is to begin to offset the high cost of gun violence. Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told FoxNews.com that cost often ends up being shouldered by these urban trauma centers.
“(The money would go) into communities here in Illinois that have been damaged with gun violence,” he said. “I think it’s a legitimate way to pursue funding.”
“We aren’t causing the problem. They are,” Pearson said. “It’s an attack on firearm owners and their rights. … They think that because we like to target shoot and hunt, we’re bad people, and we should pay for all the ills of the city of Chicago.”
Since gun owners in Illinois have to have a special ID card which requires a background check to obtain, Pearson said those committing crimes of gun violence aren’t likely to be paying much into the proposed tax fund.
“They’re not buying their ammunition (legally). They’re not paying any part of the tax. They’re getting their stuff illegally,” he said.
He estimated a typical box of ammo runs for about $25 in Illinois, meaning the average tax per box would be about 50 cents.
Source: Fox News
Supporters of the new legislation argue that proceeds from this small tax will be used to help the greater community. In this case, we would argue that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
The risks of an abusive government having the ability to essentially set the price of a product through taxation is a scary proposition. Anytime government has ever identified a new good or service to tax, if it is allowed to do so, it unabashedly continues to raise those taxes in perpetuity.
Gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes are key examples of this. In New York, for example, you pay more in taxes for a pack of cigarettes than the actual cigarettes. This same model will be introduced to ammunition if the sycophants in our local, state and federal government aren’t stopped.
You can be assured that if legislation like this isn’t stopped swiftly and unequivocally, it will spread like a cancer throughout the rest of the country.
Like cigarettes and booze, ammunition, it will be argued, is a danger to public health and the general welfare, and as such, will require high taxation to cover the adverse social impact it causes. It’s only a 2% tax today, but once the idea takes hold without protest, it will without a doubt lead to massive price increases, leaving many without the ability to exercise a right that is a pillar of the US Constitution.