Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

Marshawn_Lynch_Pro_Bowl_2013220px-SennMicrophoneThis week has continued the on-going conflict between the the National Football League (NFL) and Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch. This is not about what Lynch has said but what he refuses to say.
Lynch was recently fined for a crotch grab on national television. However, he is more reticent off the field where he avoids media. The NFL has fined him to force him to speak with media — a rule that in my view is moronic and counterproductive. Rather than just encouraging players to speak with media (some cannot be kept away from the cameras and social media like Lynch’s teammate Richard Sherman), the NFL actually fines players who simply have nothing to say. Now Lynch is being criticized for going to the compelled press conference and just repeating the same line over and over: “I’m here so I won’t get fined.”

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170px-Referees135px-Seattle_Seahawks_helmet_2012If the Seattle Seahawks are known for their aggressive offensive line, their players are nothing when compared to the aggression of their lawyers. Outdoing even the brutish NFL lawyers who claim copyright to terms like “Super Bowl,” the team has filed two dozen trademark applications in a little over a year to claim ownership to such terms as “boom” and “Go Hawks.” The team is also claiming ownership to the number 12 in a font like the one used by the team. It had to settle a prior lawsuit over its use of “The 12th Man” phrase (referring to the fans) — a phrase claimed by Texas A & M where it was forced to pay a licensing fee for the limited use of this common term. Now it is trying to the do the same in claiming parts of the English language as owned by the team (I am waiting for the Patriots to trademark “Deflate-gate”). It is all perfectly bizarre but Congress has done little to stop the frenzy to claim common terms and phrases. Too bad there is not anyone willing to throw a flag for encroachment to protect citizens.
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24FE2B9600000578-0-Aristy_s_Facebook_profile_features_many_photos_of_him_either_smo-m-44_1422071322717We have been following the response of police in the aftermath of the murder of two officers in New York. One fear is that this effort will extend to areas of free speech and the arrest this week of a teenager boy in Brooklyn would seem to confirm those concerns. Osiris Aristy posted what police consider to be threatening text and digital cartoon images – or emoji on Facebook. He was arrested for terroristic threats as well as criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drugs and criminal possession of marijuana. His bail was set at $150,000.

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220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portrait

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

It is unfortunately not surprising that anything that the CIA does should be considered suspect.  When the CIA recently came under fire for allegedly spying on Senate computers, no one, except the Senators who were spied on were surprised.  Now that Director John Brennan has completed his internal “investigation” into the matter, the truth has come out.  John Brennan says he and the CIA did nothing wrong! (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

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We previously reported HERE the bizarre and saddening controversy involving Miss Universe contestant Saly Greige representing Lebanon who was photographed in a selfie by Miss Israel Doron Matalon. The event caused a row that could have stripped Saly of her crown for violating Lebanese fraternization prohibitions with citizens of Israel.

Now, a Lebanese government official announced that no sanctions would be taken against the young hopeful.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

washington-flag-sealIn what some regard as an affront to both free speech and whistleblowing, Washington legislators Joe Schmick, J. T. Wilcox, June Robinson, and Vincent Buys sponsored House Bill 1104 introducing the new crime of “Interference with Agricultural Production.” The bill, if signed into law, will have the effect of criminalizing whistleblowing and the free speech activities of those seeking to publicize allegations of animal cruelty and other concerning farming methods under the guise of protecting agribusinesses from economic harm.

The bill also provides for troubling retributions against those who have traditionally revealed acts of cruelty to animals and shown food safety abuses by several farms and businesses.

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Marty_Walsh220px-US_Navy_031029-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)-cropThis month I wrote a column for the Washington Post on the crackdown of free speech in France and we have previously discussed the decline of free speech values in the West. (here and here and here). This has included attacks in the United States (here and here and here and here). Now, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has prepared his city for its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics by effectively suspending free speech for city employees and banning them from uttering any negative comments about the Games or the process. I suppose Walsh can cite John Adams’ infamous use of the Alien and Sedition Acts as precedent.

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