CATO Institute: “Freedom from Speech” on College Campuses (Greg Lukianoff)

I’m a big fan of FIRE and Greg Lukianoff.  I hope this interview will show you why:

Baglow v Free Dominion has become an Internet test case!

From Connie and Mark Fournier:


New news in the Baglow Trial

The court has now appointed an expert witness (that the parties have to pay for), and the “three-day” trial that turned into seven, now has seven additional daysscheduled in September!!

It is obvious that the court is serious about wanting to make case law regarding internet defamation, and that Baglow vs Free Dominion is now the test case.  We are doing our best to make sure that the decision is one that will help put an end to frivolous internet defamation lawsuits for good!

We’ve started a fundraiser to help pay for the court-appointed expert and for the additional court days.

You can help us by making a donation and/or by sharing our fundraiser link on your social networks!

The outcome of this case is important to all of us!

We can add offline donations to our fundraiser total now, so, if you prefer:

You can use PayPal by clicking this link:  Donate

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to .

Alternatively, our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than anything else!  Thank you so much for your faithful support! 

Fondest Regards,
Connie and Mark


John Stossel with Penn Jillette


Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, faces execution

Though his is not a household name, most people in the world have, by now, heard of the plight of Raif Badawithat Saudi Arabian blogger who is imprisoned for his words.

First, he was tried for having written things on the internet that the Saudi Government disapproved of – and he was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in jail.


No man or woman ought to be penalized for stating their honestly held views.

Those who have visited my blog in the past know I am a bit of a free speech fundamentalist and would not place any limits on speech whatsoever, if it were my call.  And, I do mean all speech!

If we do not hold those who listen even to incitement to violence accountable for their actual deeds, then we are guilty of infantalizing them.  A responsible adult can hear all kinds of incitements to violence, and choose to ignore them. If one chooses to act upon incitement, then one is responsible for their actions!

It is one’s actions we must judge, not one’s words!

But, Raif Badawi situation gets worse!!!

Now, the Saudi court had recommended that he be also tried for apostasy.  In Saudi Arabia, this “crime” carries the death sentence!!!

Words cannot describe the outrage I feel.

We, all of us honest people in the world, must stand up and demand that Raif Badawi (and all other ‘blasphemy prisoners’) be set free and that countries that have blasphemy laws on their books and that imprison or even execute people for apostasy be immediately kicked out of the UN and all other organizations of civilized people!

Write, call or email your local legislators and demand they put pressure on the government to officially condemn this uncivilized behaviour and pressure these countries directly through diplomatic channels to alter their laws as well as indirectly through the UN.

And, if the UN refuses to take the side of the civilized countries on this issue, then the civilized countries MUST leave the UN in protest!

Anything less will make us complicit in their martyrdoom!!!

Walter E. Williams: Economics and Personal Liberty


An ISP we all need!

Historically, ISPs have readily handed over subscriber info to ‘authorities’ for the asking – no waiting for a warrant or such silly concepts as ‘due process’.

Subscribers had no choice in the matter:  if you wanted to hook up to the internet, the pipeline was controlled by ISPs who all placed submissiveness to authorities above protecting the civil liberties of their subscribers.  Their subscription contracts made this clear – either waive your civil liberties or get your internet service from somebody else!

Except that this condition was in all the ISPs contracts, so that there was nobody else to go to!

So much for ‘free markets’…  When all the terms of service were – at least, in this respect – almost identical, there was no consumer choice:  no way to vote with your dollar.

When civil libertarians and privacy watchdogs pointed out how these ‘industry practices’ abrogate civil liberties of the consumers and that it may, in fact, be illegal, legislators quickly passed laws to permit it.

This, in effect, permits the ISPs to share content of your email (this might be a good time to check out HushMail), your web-surfing history – heck, they can even install key-loggers and pass all that information on to agents of ‘the State’.  Expectation of privacy?  What is this ‘privacy’ thing – this word no longer exist in the dictionary!

This is about to change.  If Nick Merrill has anything to say about it, that is!

From CNET News:

‘Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he’s raising funds to launch a national “non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption” that will sell mobile phone service, for as little as $20 a month, and Internet connectivity.

The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal, including encryption and limited logging, to protect its customers. It would also — and in practice this is likely more important — challenge government surveillance demands of dubious legality or constitutionality.’

Which is the thing we truly need!

So, some might say, what about the ‘baddies’?  What about organized crime or terrorists or child pornographers?  They will be the first to want to take advantage of this, would they not?

Of course:  but that is why we have the police forces. It is their job to ferret these ‘baddies’ out:  but, with great power comes great responsibility.

In the case of the police, this responsibility is checked by judicial oversight.  Sure, it is more legwork – but we know that humans nature is always the weakest link in the chain, and it precisely because of human nature that these checks and balances have been instituted, it is to make sure power is not abused that due process must be followed.  Knowing the police are not taking shortcuts will even make the public trust them more, making their jobs easier, instead of the growing distrust people have that police and/or other ‘authorities’ will abuse their position to our detriment.

When agents of the State are permitted to circumvent judicial oversight and what we consider to be ‘due process’ – whether by relaxing the standards so that this becomes ‘standard’ and ‘accepted’ practice (like government agents routinely asking for – and receiving – private information about someone from a third party without judicial oversight) or by passing laws that reduce the integrity of what constitutes ‘due process’ (oh, like, say, ‘The Patriot Act’), we all loose!

I, for one, escaped from a life in a police state. It pains me greatly so see our society move – slowly, but definitely – towards the type of state which I escaped from.

So – civil-liberties-mided, customer-privacy-focused ISP providers:  COME ON!  WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU!

Ron Paul: ‘Stop Obama’s Unconstitutional Power Grab!’



John Robson: We come from the Magna Carta!

“One of my little pet causes is to get a statue of Alfred the Great on Parliament Hill…”

Yes, the video is long – but well worth listening to:


Winning back our liberty…where to start?

Internet indeed moves at the speed of light:  my thinking, however, does not.

Some people have written reviews and excellent and insightful commentary on that ‘Freedom thingy‘ (‘Freedom of Speech and Liberty Symposium’ and ‘The conservative movement at a crossroads’ is such a mouthfull!) I went to last Monday (7th of December, 2009), some even with links to the speeches themselves.

I’m afraid I did not, because, well, I am still mulling it over….  By the time I will have thought through the individual speeches (I’m nowhere near done), any write up will be embarrassingly ‘stale’.  My apologies.

My absence of commentary, however, does not mean that I did not find attending both the day and evening sessions interesting, useful and fodder for a lot of constructive thinking.

Had I gone simply to listen to the speakers, I would have heard much of what I knew, and a bit that I didn’t.  However, that was not my primary purpose for attending.  As is my nature, I – you guessed it – I went so that I could ‘observe‘.  And when things seemed too dull or scripted (private discussions – not presentations), I’d lob in a ‘conversational grenade’ – so I could, yes, observe

I was equally fascinated by what was said and discussed as by the how.  But, I was even more interested by WHAT WAS NOT….

It was that ‘what was not’ that I think is really important:  whether because we are not aware that these bits are missing, or because we are too afraid to discuss them, is irrelevant.  Not addressing them is something we cannot afford to do!

Since I have the attention-span of a gnat, I know I’ll probably never finish the full series, but….

In the next couple of posts, I would like to look at at least a few of these ‘missing bits’ which we need to fill in before this grass-roots, pro-liberty movement is viable.  And, I think it CAN be – but not without some considerable self-examination by us all in the ‘bits’ we’d rather not talk about…

How come I am talking about this, when so many better qualified people did not mention it?

Well, I often think ‘outside the box’ because I am always having trouble ‘seeing the boxes’….

I am an immigrant – so, my observations tend to be with respect to a slightly different frame of reference…alternate cultural experience during formative years and all that.

Plus, my ‘reading list’ is not the same as most of the people’s who were there:  they are knowledgeable in political history and theory stuff – I have no clue about that, have not read any of those books, have not been in Canada for many of the ‘formative events’ they describe.

Instead, I studied physics in University.  In my free time (and spare courses), I studied sociology and anthropology of religions (any dogma, really, whether theological or not). I read books about how specific beliefs and attitudes will arise out of particular societies, and how dogmatization of these beliefs will then shape the society’s future evolution: there is a whole feedback thingy there.  I took time to learn various religions (both from books, and by attending services and discussions with theologians and laymen (except for the Wiccan Church of Canada:  in Wicca, every practitioner is a priest or priestess by definition), to make sure I understood both the theory and practice).  I also studied the bits of psychiatry of that deal with archetypes and religious belief/faith…  I know, rather silly, but fascinating!

So, I suspect that even if I do see some ‘boxes’, they are not likely the same ones as most of the people who attended see….  I just hope that my observations and suggestions will be of help.

(I’ll update this with links to the pertinent posts, if I remember…)

UPDATE: Winning back our liberty:  the ‘commercial’ threat

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