Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To Be Not Silent

Tori Amos wrote a beautiful song entitled "Silent All These Years". That song reminds me of my 24 year military career. I was far from silent. However, my writings remained in the realms of philosophy, fiction, poetry, and general commentary of life. Due to my dedication to duty in service of my country and the US Constitution that defines its government, I honored and obeyed the laws regarding political commentary and public statements by US Military Members as outlined by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Having been "Silent All These Years", I reclaimed my political voice shortly after my official retirement date. I have embraced the precious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment that I had defended "against all enemies, foreign and domestic" for so long. This is why I find it so reprehensible when those among our society attempt to silent other voices.

I detest socialism. I am a veteran of the Cold War. I have been in countries that suffered decades, or more, of oppression where simply muttering publicly discontent towards a government official could mean a long jail term or a death sentence. I have fought wars in some of those countries to liberate those people. However, one of the key necessities of oligarchic systems such as socialism is the need to control the press. There is a necessity to silent or marginalize all voices of dissent especially if they are exposing facts that defeat the socialist narrative. This is not some mindless parroting of Andrew Breitbart. Andrew saw it here through complicit actions by mainstream media sources. I saw it used to oppress people in countries with socialist oligarchies such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic.

While, having seen its evils and oppressive nature, I detest socialism I more detest restricting voices of opinion. I do agree that "fighting words" and threats should not be covered by the First Amendment. US Supreme Court decisions concur. However, I find it healthy for our country for a socialist to be able to stand up and say "I disagree. You are wrong because [list actual facts]". I will go so far as to state that socialists have been instrumental in identifying issues of individual liberty that do need to be protected and addressed. The dialog is healthy even if I find their ideas that the government should tell us what to do reprehensible and contrary to the intents of our Constitution as described in the Federalist Papers.

Some activists on the left strongly disagree. They want voices of dissent silenced. They will employ all available means to do so. Their Kantian and Marcusian lack of ethics and belief in moral relativism holds to the tenet that the "end justifies the means" and following Alinsky's principle that "the purpose of the action is the reaction". (As one who studies terrorist groups, I must inform you that to be the object of every terrorist attack -- to force a reaction from the true victims, the audience.)

Some of the tactics they use to do this include what is termed "SWATting". They convince local law enforcement to violate the Fourth Amendment. The callers make claims of some form of drastic violence inciting an overreaction by law enforcement officials. Of course, those making the calls do so in a manner that is difficult to trace. Making false reports to the police is illegal. Doing so in an attempt to harm another person also includes the charge of slander to those of public endangerment, filing a false report, etc. In addition, the costs of such operations are a waste of taxpayer money. Two prominent conservatives have been victims of this tactic:  Patrick (Patterico) Frey and WSB radio personality/CNN Political contributor  Erick Erickson.

Another tactic has several labels. The tactic includes crowdsourcing a group of people to do various things to silence somebody by allegations of different media sites' Terms of Service. A group called the "beandogs" allegedly conduct crowdsourcing attacks for Neal Rauhauser on selected targets. They get one person to engage the target in some form of tete-a-tete while the others report the target for TOS violations or SPAM production on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Many conservative new media personalities, such as Leah AKA @GOPFirecracker of Misfit Politics, remain suspended in "Twitter-Gulag" from similar abuses of Twitter's spam-block function. They also will gang up on conservative blogs and online news outlets reporting the blogs to hosting companies for posting "unauthorized content". Sometimes they will even post such violating material in comments sections, complaining of "free speech" violations if the comments are not publicly displayed, reporting the author of the original post if they are.

"Crowdsourcing" itself is not illegal, unethical, or immoral. The term itself just means asking for a large group of volunteers to undertake a task or group of tasks. It is similar to contract outsourcing of various business activities. In the mid-90s, Projekt Records conducted a crowdsourcing operation they called their "Maven Projekt". Basically, they provided fliers, graphics, and other materials to anybody willing to go out and spread the word about Projekt Records and their artists. Newt Gingrich conducted a form of crowdsourcing when he asked supporters to place post-it notes at gas pumps about his $2.25/gal meme. Some social groups and youth groups crowdsource with various "bring a friend" activities meant to work as membership drives. There is nothing unethical or illegal about crowdsourcing. However, when used to attack or silence people, that act that is crowdsourced can be. In fact, inciting a group of people to conduct an illegal act is called "criminal solicitation".

One could argue that such tactics are gray-area. One could attempt to argue that they are annoying but not illegal. That is for courts to decide if the cases ever make it to litigation. However threats are still threats. Threats are still illegal. Some leftists have threatened the lives and property of conservatives. I directly witnessed one left-wing activist threaten to kill Todd Kincannon and rape his fiancee while he bled-out. I have seen threats of violence against Dana Loesch and her children. One such threat led to a crowdsourcing spam-block abuse attack on Dana's husband, Chris Loesch, when he confronted the person who allegedly made those threats. Chris was suspended from Twitter for a couple of hours. Ali Akbar and his family also recently received death threats. Ali's "offense" is attempting to organize a group to provide legal and other forms of defense for bloggers and "new media" journalists. R. Stacy McCain and his family have had to move and go into hiding after receiving threats. These are not empty rhetoric. These are actual and viable threats against life, liberty, property, and body (rape) and are not restricted to just the bloggers, including their children.

A third tactic is perhaps the most vile transgression. With hefty budgets provided by socialist financiers such as George Soros, left-wing activists use the court systems against those who most support them -- Conservatives. One such example is Brett Kimberlin's outrageous number of filings against conservatives such as Aaron Walker. Aaron used public information and court records to refresh people of Brett Kimberlin's criminal history. During a recent court case against Aaron Walker, Brett Kimberlin testified that Aaron had inspired people to threaten his family and to "SWAT" him. Ironically, it was Brett's associates who did these things to conservatives. So, he used what they had already done as a claim Aaron or his allegedly paid associates would avenge using the same tactics. The term "extreme hypocrite" comes to mind. Brett Kimberlin claims that the left making ridiculous claims of racism among the TEA Party groups is protected by the first amendment. However, he files SLAPP suits against anybody who discusses news stories published about the terrorist acts he was convicted of committing in 1978. These acts and the evidence are documented in public court records and are not protected by the Privacy Act of 1974. In fact, those records are available with a simple Freedom of Information Act request. 

The rampant hypocrisy in these suits, torts, filings, public allegations used as attempts to silence outspoken individuals is that the left actually conducts these acts. They then accuse their targets of doing or threatening to commit these same acts. Psychologists may posit this is a form of projection and/or transference from their guilty conscience. That, however, assumes they have a conscience in the first place. In fact, those formerly of their numbers who move to the right after realizing their hypocrisy, such as Brandon Darby, receive the brunt of such attacks and allegations.

On May 25th, a group of conservative bloggers, sick of  Kimberlin's attacks against anybody who dares speak the truth about his past, researched, shared information, and wrote articles about him. He used this against Aaron Walker as though he solicited those who wrote. That is factually untrue. I had been following the story for about a year and felt compelled to write my own commentary. The fact I added further research into my own article and held off publishing until that date was my own decision, feeling my words would carry a greater impact if published on that day. Now, some conservatives call for a day of silence on June 8th. The idea is to post open letters to government officials regarding these tactics and their victims instead of writing other articles. While I stand with my fellow conservative new media journalists, I cannot be silent. It is what they want. It is allowing them to use the Alinsky Tactic of "pushing a negative into a positive". No.