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Response to an Editorial by Ken Huber

NewspaperI got another right-wing e-mail the other day. At least, I assume it's right wing, since most of the arguments in it tend to lean that way, and it specifically criticizes "progressive" stances as wrong. However, it's a bit hard to tell. Maybe it's better just to chalk this up as one of those rants where everything was so much better in the good ol' days, but now the world's going to Hell in a hand basket.

This one was supposedly a reprint from an editorial, but I've been unable to find it online to determine what paper it was originally printed in. I was able to find it in examiner.com, but only as basically a reprint. The only clue is that the man who supposedly wrote it, Ken Huber, signed his name from Tawas City, which Google tells me is in Michigan. For the sake of argument, I'll just assume that someone named Ken Huber did actually write this editorial, and that it did actually appear in print. It doesn't really matter much, since this article has taken on a life of its own in e-mail forwards.

Before getting into my response, I'll note that after I wrote all this, I came across three other very good responses, which I'm linking to below. The first is the shortest and pithiest. The other two are a bit more thoughtful.

On to the editorial. I'll use my normal approach of putting a section of the original in blockquotes, followed by my comments.

Editor,

Has America become the land of special interest and home of the double standard?

Lets see: if we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the Congress lies to us its just politics;

Politicians lying is definitely infuriating, but it's not something to bring up in a question of 'what has America become', since politicians have always lied. At least with the dawn of the Internet, it's easy to fact check the politicians.


if we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black person dislikes whites, its their 1st Amendment right;

I suppose Ken Huber is white. If he dislikes a black person just because of the color of their skin, then yes, he's racist. And if a black person dislikes Huber just because of the color of Huber's skin, then that black person would be a racist, too. And if a Latino, or an Asian, or an American Indian, or anyone else dislikes any person just because of the color of their skin, then they're a racist. But the 1st Amendment grants everyone that right, so long as you don't let your personal feelings cause actual harm against those people.

Huber's complaint would be much more persuasive if organizations like the KKK weren't allowed to spew their hatred, but they're free to speak just like everyone else. (I won't link to it, but the mere existence of Storm Front really shows society's tolerance of despicable speech.)


the government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do almost nothing for the victims;

I hope Huber is upset at the balance of spending, and not just on the fact that the government spends money to rehabilitate criminals. If the overall purpose of the legal system is to make society safer, what do we expect criminals to do once they get out of prison? Turn right back to crime and cause more harm before being arrested again? Or become productive members of society who can actually contribute?


in public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process;

How are these related. The first is an issue of tolerance. The second is an issue of separation of church and state. Does Huber want schools to 'teach that homosexuality is OK' while specifically calling out Christianity on its intolerance and bigotry?

I know - not really. He wants to continue to allow people to be bigoted against homosexuals, and he wants to use religion as the excuse to allow it.


you can kill an unborn child, but it is wrong to execute a mass murderer;

I've already written about abortion, so I won't rehash all my arguments here. I think there are legitimate debates about how many rights to grant to a fetus at different stages of development, and how to balance those rights against those of the fully human woman who's carrying the fetus, but I also think there are times when abortion is justified.

Huber, though, does point out the hypocrisy of many of the 'pro-lifers'. Apparently, life is only sacred when still in the womb. Once you're an adult, it's okay if the state kills you. (Me - I'm ambivalent on the morality of capital punishment. Instead, I look at it from a pragmatic viewpoint - I don't trust the government to make irreversible life and death decisions, especially when so many convictions for people on death row have been overturned.) I'd have much more respect for the consistency of supposedly 'pro-life' supporters if they were vegetarians and opposed to the death penalty.


we don't burn books in America, we now rewrite them;

Actually, this is a problem. The right wing dominated State Board of Education here in Texas is notorious for the shenanigans it's pulled with textbook standards, from re-writing the religious influences on the Founding Fathers and our nation in general, to last minute back-door dealings on English standards, to injecting creationism into science.


we got rid of communist and socialist threats by renaming them progressive;

There actually are communist and socialist parties in this country. They are far more extreme than any Democrats or mainstream politicians who label themselves as 'progressive'.

It's gotten to the point where if you try to have anything in this country publicly funded, it gets labeled 'socialist' or 'communist' by the right wing. If a government funded fire department or police force is socialist, either socialism isn't such a bad thing, or people are throwing around the term where it doesn't belong.


we are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea;

When I look at the border between North and South Korea, I don't see something to aspire to.


if you protest against President Obama's policies you're a terrorist, but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right.

Who has been labeled a terrorist for protesting Obama's policies? I don't see Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck being charged with anything.

And yes, it should be your right to burn any inanimate object you want to (assuming that act isn't dangerous). It may be offensive, but it does no actual harm to anybody. That's kind of the whole point of free speech. Doesn't prohibiting symbolic gestures seem a bit totalitarian?


You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas;

Wait, what? On what broadcast TV channel can you get pornography? The only channels I know of where you can find that type of content are on cable or satellite, i.e. channels that a person has to purchase.

This comparison is just silly. Cable/satellite TV are private services that people purchase. The Internet sites Huber's referring to are also privately owned. A public park is government run. Now, if you want to put up a nativity scene on private property, you've got every right to do so. I see plenty of them around town here during the holidays.

To really see how silly this comparison is, just swap around his comparisons. You can put a nativity scene on TV or the internet, but you can't have pornography in a public park. Appropriate venues for appropriate content.


we have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people;

The U.S. has the largest prisoner population in the world, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Just think about that - we have more prisoners than either China or Russia. 25% of the inmates of the world are in the U.S., even though we only have 5% of the world's population And it's not as if the prison systems are public health institutions, or that chain gangs are a thing of the past. We're not soft on crime.


we can use a human fetus for medical research, but it is wrong to use an animal.

Yeah, because nobody uses lab rats anymore.

There are definitely ethical considerations when using research subjects that experience emotions or feel pain. We tend to place the most restrictions on humans, mostly because it's us humans making the laws and we have high opinions of ourselves. But, humans are also the most intelligent animals, and probably have richer emotional lives than some other animals (though I'd be willing to bet the difference between us and chimps in this regard is practically nonexistent). And we're also the only animals that can give consent, so it does make sense for the restrictions to be highest for us.

But embryos and fetuses are a grey area. How do we judge when it's ethical to experiment on one organism and not another? If it's okay to use rats for research, how is it wrong to use a day old blastula that doesn't even have differentiated cells, let alone a nervous system or a functioning brain? Does the mere fact that it has human DNA make it special? If so, what do we do with HeLa cells, or even biopsies?

The first link below is a non-sensational account of the actual research that takes place with embryos and fetuses.


We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work;

Has this guy looked at any stats on wealth distribution or income inequality? The richest Americans have a hugely disproportionate share of the wealth, and both wealth inequality and income inequality are increasing. So who's losing out on money? Or does he think the rich are the ones stealing all that hard earned money from the poor and middle class?


we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology;

Not much argument here. The right wing tends to ignore the separation of church and state, suppress free speech, and wants to impose their morality on everyone, while the left wing tends to ignore the right to own firearms (though of course, that's a broad brush both ways). Both parties are ignoring the right to due process and a speedy trial with Guantanamo and the Patriot Act.


we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct;

Wait, wasn't he just complaining about it being okay to burn the flag or an effigy of the President? It sounds like he's arguing for freedom of speech, but only when it's speech he approves of.

When the Fred Phelps, Rush Limbaughs, Glen Becks, and Bill O'Reilly's of the world can get away with saying everything they do, it's hard to argue that only politically correct speech is permitted. (And don't confuse public outcry against the things those people say with restricting freedom of speech - it's really just granting the same freedom to the people who want to criticize their opinions.)

If you want to see problems with freedom of speech in areas where it's supposed to be upheld as a virtue, look to Europe. With their blasphemy laws, laws against Holocaust denial, the U.K.'s libel laws, etc., it makes you appreciative of the freedom we have here (not saying that Holocaust denial is noble, but that the government shouldn't be able to outlaw it).

And if you want to see huge problems with freedom of speech, look to the theocracies, dictatorships, and other oppressive governments of the world, which make you really grateful to live in a country that values that freedom as much as the U.S.


parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games;

No big argument from me, here. Those types of drugs are over-prescribed. I don't have a strong opinion on the video games.


the land of opportunity is now the land of hand outs;

I do agree that welfare needs reform. Through my wife who used to work labor and delivery, I've heard of plenty of people abusing the system by having children just to get a bigger check. But, I also think it's a program that serves a valuable purpose and should stay in place in some manner. As the old saying goes - a hand up, not a hand out. Personally, I'd like to see some modern version of the CCC, but good luck getting that past the Tea Party who'd just call it socialist or complain of government expansion.

To be honest, though, the actual cases of welfare fraud are greatly exaggerated.


the similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill is that neither president did anything to help.

No big argument on this one.


And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.

In regards to the 'raises our taxes', I'll just quote something I wrote before. "I don't understand why taxes all of a sudden became such a big issue when Obama took office. Why didn't we see the Tea Party protesters 3 years ago? The timing seems a bit suspicious. For most people, taxes are comparable to what they've been for the past 50 years. For the wealthy, they've increased slightly under Obama, but they're still significantly lower than they were during the Nixon & Reagan years. The tax burden in the U.S. isn't that bad compared to other countries, either. All the data just makes the Tea Party protesters seem like a bunch of whiners who don't want to pay their fair share to support society."


What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?

- Ken Huber
Tawas City

No real comment on this last part.


So that's it - one long rant of claims and comparisons that mostly didn't stand up to any scrutiny.


Updated 2012-03-23 - Slightly reworded the section on freedom of speech, and added the mentions of oppressive countries, since those really are far worse than the U.S. or Europe.

Updated 2012-03-26 - I didn't explicitly state this at the top of this entry, but this originally began as a response to the friend who sent it to me. I actually posted this entry before sending the response, and in reading over the response one last time before sending it to him, I found a few more changes - the biggest being the inclusion of a few more stats in regards to incarceration in the U.S. I also added the links to some of the other reviews that I found.

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Comments

Thanks for your article, Jeff, I sent it on to ten or so people who had received that Ken Huber chain letter. Keep up the good work.

OYVEY, jeff, it took you quite a lot of space to dismiss a letter to an editor that was rather brief and based on facts, only ... you start by saying it's right wing, displaying your bias for all to see ... you are unable to dispute the facts, so, instead, you attack the person who mentioned them ... i would have asked whether you're ashamed of yourself yet, but now i realize: your kind do not know the meaning of the word ...

Was hoping for a balanced argument but this one is very liberal based and basically the author seems like an angry liberal who is sticking it to the conservatives. I will check the other sites and hopefully find a better, more balanced opinion. Boooo! Im so tired of the political games...I guess that is what America has actually come to these days. Its playground antics. Your a good writer just not looking for opinion but a real assessment of these contradictions.

Peter- I agree that the original article was brief, but I disagree with it being based on sound facts. That was much of the point of my response. I don't see how calling the article right wing is particularly biased. Do you disagree that it was right wing? I have another blog entry, Ask and Ye Shall Receive - A Dubious Left Wing E-mail, where I debunk a left wing e-mail. I hardly discussed Ken Huber at all, so I don't see how I attacked him personally. I did add a bit of personal commentary to my response, but I tried to respond largely factually, and even included links to external sources to back up my claims.

So, to answer the question you decided not to ask - no, I'm not ashamed of this blog entry.

"if we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black person dislikes whites, its their 1st Amendment right;"

I think the double standard he was referring to here that it seems any time someone disagrees with President Obama based on his policies and actions [the content of his character], they are branded as racist. Yet, the Black Panthers can scream about how much they hate white crackers and want to kill them [which is indeed racist], or other groups make media presentations about white priveledge and call to attention all the things white people need to do to 'make up' for the color of their skin, yet they are given a free pass by the media.


Many of his other points were quite valid, I think the problem was he did not elaborate on them enough for you to understand them. In effect, your responses then became strawmen arguments.

"in public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process;"

I think his problem here is that parents rights are being taken away - usually, for any school subject, parents can get an exemption. [homosexuality is not about tolerance, btw. Christians already see homosexuals as free and equal people of the same worth as anyone else, you will find some christians sho strucggle with the sin themselves. The difference is the *act* is a sin, like gossip or adultery or cheating on a test). So, it is not appropriate (and there have been cases) for a school to force the teaching of the subject matter or take a child to an event promoting the ideology without even giving the parent the option to remove their child [something you can do even if you take, say, minor offense at a book they are reading in class]. I also think it is innapropriate for the matter to be taught, especially to younger children, but even to older, in the methods it has been - with pamphlets being given out asking them to experiment or explore their sexuality. That is neither a matter of tolerance nor even information, but is an overt form of sexual education. Since homosexuality is a behavioral enetic trait - with biological, social, and personal choice components - introducing them to overt and forced social triggers at a young age is heavily influencing their future choice. Teacher;s are no even allowed to promote apolitical party - why then can they push such a sensitive matter onto a child?

"We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work;"

Since I live quite well on about 8,000 a year, and people who make over $34,000 a year are int he top 1% of the world's income bracket, this does seem a topic heavily influenced by greed and ;but look at what my neighbor has!'
Really, its the statistical outliers (the .001%) who have the extreme wealth, and while their are problems, they are not going to be fixed while everyone is under the mindset that equality can be "made" - instead of something that man already has.

"we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology;"

There is no seperation of chrch and state - what constitution have you been reading? That comes from an out of context, mangled paraphrase from a non-binding letter Jefferson sent to the Danbury Baptists assuring them that their religious rights were not something that could be legislated by the government. The Supreme Court in the mid 20th century, decided that Jefferson was an authority on the first amendment (he was in France when it was written), and went against their prior usage of the full letter in past cases (always used as originally written to protect the church from legislation by the government) to decide that the phrase restricted the church from its normal freedom of religion!

If there was 'seperation of church and state" why did Jefferson and other presidents attend church in government buildings like the Treasury and Capitol, where government funded military chaplains often preached and military bands played? ;)

Freedom of religion means that we - private citizen or public official - are free to act on our faith (including public expressions, public preaching, etc). The governments restriction isd that it cannot establish a religion/set up a state church, it cannot penalize people for their faith, and it cannot force people to worship in any given manner.

So, the government -restricting- religious excercise (saying you can only act religiously at certain times, but not at school or public events, for example) is unconstitutional. Likewise, the government forcing anyone to act against their religious belief (ie, forcing a religious teacher to teach evolution or teach homosexuality) is also unconstitutional.

"Who has been labeled a terrorist for protesting Obama's policies"

Were you not around for Nancy Pelosi implying that the tea party was would be violent rebels, or the national security report that came out calling returning soldiers from overseas who were patriotic, anti-abortion, anti-Obama, and owned a gun potential terrorists?

"we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct;"

He was not complaining about the right to burn an effigy or free speech. He was complaining about the double standard - that when the tea party or unpopular free speech is engaged in, it gets considered the work of "an angry mob" or racism or terrorism - yet free speech by groups liek occupy wallstreet [even ones that -do- break laws by getting violent] are given proper treatment in regard to their free speech.
For your comments on right wing commentators - there was the 'war on fox' a while back, in which the white house was rather prominantly attacking the free speech of Fox News.

"if we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black person dislikes whites, its their 1st Amendment right;"

I think the double standard he was referring to here that it seems any time someone disagrees with President Obama based on his policies and actions [the content of his character], they are branded as racist.

This point of Huber's never mentioned Obama, so I don't think he was referring to people criticizing Obama. I do think there are some racist people who dislike Obama simply because of the color of his skin, but I also agree that some people are too quick to use that term on anyone disagreeing with Obama. However, that doesn't seem to be a very widespread problem.

Yet, the Black Panthers can scream about how much they hate white crackers and want to kill them [which is indeed racist], or other groups make media presentations about white priveledge and call to attention all the things white people need to do to 'make up' for the color of their skin, yet they are given a free pass by the media.

Seriously, have you never heard of Storm Front? I will not give them the dignity of a link to their site, but here's a link to the Wikipedia Entry. To be honest, I've heard very, very little about Storm Front in mainstream media, despite how odious their positions and statements are. In fact, I've heard about the Black Panthers more, particularly in regards to their violent reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting, so I don't think the Black Panthers get a free pass (here's an example of the media reporting explicitly on the New Black Panthers calling for violence, New Black Panther leader: Hunt down and kill white people, and here's an article where their violent response to the Martin shooting gets mentioned, Air marshal took Zimmerman in when the going got rough - i.e. the media does call them out).

Many of his other points were quite valid, I think the problem was he did not elaborate on them enough for you to understand them. In effect, your responses then became strawmen arguments.

"in public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process;"

I think his problem here is that parents rights are being taken away - usually, for any school subject, parents can get an exemption. [homosexuality is not about tolerance, btw. Christians already see homosexuals as free and equal people of the same worth as anyone else, you will find some christians sho strucggle with the sin themselves. The difference is the *act* is a sin, like gossip or adultery or cheating on a test). So, it is not appropriate (and there have been cases) for a school to force the teaching of the subject matter or take a child to an event promoting the ideology without even giving the parent the option to remove their child [something you can do even if you take, say, minor offense at a book they are reading in class]. I also think it is innapropriate for the matter to be taught, especially to younger children, but even to older, in the methods it has been - with pamphlets being given out asking them to experiment or explore their sexuality. That is neither a matter of tolerance nor even information, but is an overt form of sexual education. Since homosexuality is a behavioral enetic trait - with biological, social, and personal choice components - introducing them to overt and forced social triggers at a young age is heavily influencing their future choice. Teacher;s are no even allowed to promote apolitical party - why then can they push such a sensitive matter onto a child?

I have seen rumors of inappropriate materials being given out to students, and I wouldn't be too surprised if this did happen in some cases, but every time I can remember personally researching these rumors, they turn out to be false. Can you provide a reference to an actual case of this happening? Is it more than just isolated cases?

And let's be clear. Despite what you say about the issue not being about tolerance, bigoty and bullying against homosexual students is a real problem. Here's a short page with some stats on the problem: Bullying and Gay Youth. According to that page, "22 percent of gay respondents had skipped school in the past month because they felt unsafe there." And here's an article listing some examples of tragic outcomes due to bullying against gay students, Special editorial: Bullying, gay teen suicides, and a need for a solution.

Given the scope of the problem and the tragic consequences, I do question whether parents should be allowed to pull their kids from some of these programs. I want to respect parental authority, but kids are dying here. Where does a parent's right to dictate their child's education interfere with someone else's right to survive?

"We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work;"

Since I live quite well on about 8,000 a year, and people who make over
$34,000 a year are int he top 1% of the world's income bracket, this does seem a topic heavily influenced by greed and ;but look at what my neighbor has!'
Really, its the statistical outliers (the .001%) who have the extreme wealth, and while their are problems, they are not going to be fixed while everyone is under the mindset that equality can be "made" - instead of something that man already has.

I suppose we interpreted Huber's point differently. I thought he was referring to wealth redistribution in the U.S., but it appears that you think he was referring to international wealth redistribution.

Anyway, if it was domestic, the stats I put up still stand. There isn't a large scale redistribution of wealth to the poor in this country.

I also disagree a bit with that final sentence of yours. I guess it depends on what you mean by 'equality', but it's obvious that not everyone is born equal. I myself, for example, was born into a middle class family with great opportunity. My whole life, it was just assumed that I would go to college, because there was no question of my parents being able to pay for it. Sure, I had to keep my act together and study and put in some effort on my part, but it wasn't super difficult. I mainly just had to avoid screwing up. If I look to my wife's family, she and her siblings were born into less fortunate economic circumstances. For them, even a high school diploma wasn't assumed - it was actually expected of the older siblings that they would drop out to get a job to help support the rest of the family. So, 3 of 3 out of my parents' children got degrees, while only 1 out of 7 siblings in my wife's family got a degree. It wasn't that my brothers and I were any smarter, we were just lucky to be born into the family we were. And you could argue that that's just the way of the world, and that there's nothing the government should do to try to help out those less fortunate, but don't pretend that everyone's born equal.

"we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology;"

There is no seperation of chrch and state - what constitution have you been reading?

The one that says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The first part says congress can't support religion. The second says they can't restrict it. It may not literally have the word 'separation', but that certainly sounds like separation to me.

That comes from an out of context, mangled paraphrase from a non-binding letter Jefferson sent to the Danbury Baptists assuring them that their religious rights were not something that could be legislated by the government. The Supreme Court in the mid 20th century, decided that Jefferson was an authority on the first amendment (he was in France when it was written), and went against their prior usage of the full letter in past cases (always used as originally written to protect the church from legislation by the government) to decide that the phrase restricted the church from its normal freedom of religion!

If there was 'seperation of church and state" why did Jefferson and other presidents attend church in government buildings like the Treasury and Capitol, where government funded military chaplains often preached and military bands played? ;)

Here's a link to the full text of Jefferson's letter on the Library of Congress website:
Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists, The Final Letter, as Sent

And here's a link to their discussion of the letter:
'A Wall of Separation', FBI Helps Restore Jefferson's Obliterated Draft

I just re-read the letter again myself, and don't see 'building a wall of separation between Church & State' is 'an out of context, mangled paraphrase'.

Freedom of religion means that we - private citizen or public official - are free to act on our faith (including public expressions, public preaching, etc). The governments restriction isd that it cannot establish a religion/set up a state church, it cannot penalize people for their faith, and it cannot force people to worship in any given manner.

So, the government -restricting- religious excercise (saying you can only act religiously at certain times, but not at school or public events, for example) is unconstitutional. Likewise, the government forcing anyone to act against their religious belief (ie, forcing a religious teacher to teach evolution or teach homosexuality) is also unconstitutional.

If you took out 'public official' from that first paragraph, I would agree with this statment. And even public officials, when not acting in their official positions, have these freedoms. However, when someone is acting on behalf of the government, they must remain neutral on religion. For example, a teacher is completely free to go to church on their own time, believe whatever they want, pray privately anywhere or anytime they want (even on school grounds), or pray publicly outside of school. What they cannot do is lead students in prayer while acting as a teacher, or other similar actions that cross the line of 'respecting an establishment of religion'.

And I completely disagree with saying that teachers can use their religion as an excuse to not teach evolution or any other topic required by school standards. They are public servants, and have a responsibility to carry out their duties as such. If you can't perform your duties, find a different line of work. I mean, would you seriously allow a science teacher to refrain from teaching how lightning works because they claimed it went against their religious belief that lightning was a spark from Thor's hammer, or to teach that the world was flat because that was their religious belief? (Yes, flat earthers still exist.)

However, I do agree that there are cases where people's religious freedoms are infringed upon. Here are some examples from the ACLU fighting against restrictions to religious freedom: ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression.

"Who has been labeled a terrorist for protesting Obama's policies"

Were you not around for Nancy Pelosi implying that the tea party was would be violent rebels, or the national security report that came out calling returning soldiers from overseas who were patriotic, anti-abortion, anti-Obama, and owned a gun potential terrorists?

The Tea Party was not labeled as violent simply because they opposed Obama's policies, but because of their incendiary speech and actual acts of violence. I've already discussed the right wing's violent rhetoric in an entry titled Thoughts on the Arizona Shooting & Violent Rhetoric from the Right.

Here are a few articles with examples of violence from the extreme right:

"we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct;"

He was not complaining about the right to burn an effigy or free speech. He was complaining about the double standard - that when the tea party or unpopular free speech is engaged in, it gets considered the work of "an angry mob" or racism or terrorism - yet free speech by groups liek occupy wallstreet [even ones that -do- break laws by getting violent] are given proper treatment in regard to their free speech.
For your comments on right wing commentators - there was the 'war on fox' a while back, in which the white house was rather prominantly attacking the free speech of Fox News.

I've read the Texas Republican Platform. They actually do want to outlaw burning the flag, which is why people have to explicitly defend it as a First Amendment right. I've not seen any mainstream political figures arguing that it should be illegal to criticize the president. So I don't see a double standard like you're trying to set up. (And are you really saying that burning the flag is not unpopular?)

See above for examples of violence from the Tea Party. And here's an article detailing the different treatment OWS and Tea Party protesters received from the police:

Can you provide any documentation of the White House trying to take away Fox News's right to free speech? I haven't seen any. They criticized Fox for their ideological positions and biased coverage, but never tried to take away their right to hold those positions or to promote them. In the original post, I specifically said not to confuse people criticizing someone's opinions with trying to take away their right to express them.


If you come back to leave further comments, I would ask one thing. Please provide references to back up your claims. The commenting system here has a limit on number of links per post, but if you just e-mail me right after you post it, I can log into the system and mark your comment as legitimate so that it does appear.

You are seemingly stupid and either cannot or just ignore to see where this mans views are coming from.

This was originally in the Iosco County News/Herald and/or The Oscoda Press, originating from East Tawas, Michigan. The editor of the paper is VERY right wing and Mr. Huber is a regular contributor to the "Letter to the Editor". He used to spar back and forth with my husband via that column.

So, you are correct in assuming he is right wing and on a rant. I seem to recall this was written several years ago and it seems is just now being discovered. I can't tell you if it was re-printed during the last election cycle as I no longer read the local "rag". When they get a new editor...I'll start reading the paper again!

You are trying to reason and make sense of a small town mind. Why this would go viral is beyond me...

I think you ALL need to get a life!

"mostly didn't stand up to any scrutiny"

You think just because you took the time to type words on your computer that you have discredited this letter? Every word the man wrote is true. YOU are full of shit.

You are an ass!

To the likes of David, Brent, and Latisha - I don't mind dissenting opinions on this blog. In fact, I have fun arguing with people with whom I disagree (family reunions are fun). But it's only fun if the arguments are substantive. Simply calling people names doesn't add anything constructive. So, I would ask that anybody leaving a comment who disagrees with me at least take the time to point out where and why they think I'm wrong. And ideally, include references and facts to back up your statements. Calling me an ass without offering any reasons for why you think I'm wrong isn't going to do very much to win me over to your side of the argument.

Thank you for Jeff for that concise and thoughtful reply. My right wing friend sent me the Ken Huber e-mail. Reading some of the comments you've recieved, I'm convinced of the futility to respond to my friend. Conservative ideology has become a religion.

Keep defending the lying administration and his minions and lay down before them.
Hope you have to pay an additional $379 per month for health insurance like I do and all the other retired Dade County Police and Fire retirees. Hope you get what you want when you vote for Hillary in 2014. She is the post child of the next Pinocio movie along with her husband.
Open your eyes and see that we are going down the tubes. Merry Christmas

YOU Sir....are an IDIOT. EVIL SOB!

Speaking of rants, Jeff's posting represents a perfect example.

Ken Huber for President. Everything he said is 100% true. To argue with it is to be ignorant of the real issues affecting people all over this great nation. But, yes, its your right to argue with it. Open your eyes people, this nation is falling apart.

I think Jeff's lunch breaks are w-a-y too long. Can't help but wonder if he is in fact working, does his boss know?

Pam - just in case it wasn't obvious, I rarely write blog posts in one sitting. Particularly long ones can take a couple weeks, and sometimes I'll even work on them from home.

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