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Newt Gingrich Says Free Speech May Be Forfeit 894

At a dinner honoring those who stand up for freedom of speech, former House speaker Newt Gingrich issued his opinion that the idea of free speech in the U.S. needs to be re-examined in the interest of fighting terrorism. Gingrich said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message. The article has few details of what Gingrich actually said beyond the summary above, and no analysis pointing out how utterly clueless the suggestion is given the Internet's nature and trans-national reach.
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Newt Gingrich Says Free Speech May Be Forfeit

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  • Re:Their America? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @02:44PM (#17020838)
    Gingrich holds no elected office.
  • Hold on a minute (Score:5, Informative)

    by andytrevino ( 943397 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:01PM (#17021240) Homepage

    As usual, there is more than meets the eye, especially when the original article is from the "Union Leader"..

    From a fairly robust article in the Boston Globe [boston.com] I dug up with a quick Google News search for "Gingrich":

    MANCHESTER, N.H. --Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday that First Amendment rights need to be expanded and cited the elimination of McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms as one solution.

    ... (later in the article)

    Noting the thwarted London terrorist attacks this summer, Gingrich said there should be a Geneva Convention for such actions that makes those people subject to "a totally different set of rules."

    From this Globe article (hardly a conservative-friendly paper) it appears Gingrich's "totally different set of rules" has not to do with freedom of speech, but with the Geneva Convention as applied to terrorists, which is a whole 'nother bag of worms in and of itself; however, the question remains as to how the OP managed to spin what seem to be two separate points into one decidedly negative message.

    Does anyone have the actual transcript of his speech there so we can figure out who's full of BS and who's not? Think about it -- if the man is even THINKING of running for President in '08, he certainly isn't going to get elected if he runs on a platform of RESTRICTING basic freedom of speech.

  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:05PM (#17021344)
    I honestly hope we don't enact restrictions like Europe (and elsewhere) http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-02-26-euro pe-free-speech_x.htm [usatoday.com].

    "If the Constitution doesn't protect scum like me, it doesn't protect anybody."---Larry Flint.
  • oh come on (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dr Kool, PhD ( 173800 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:10PM (#17021440) Homepage Journal
    Newt said free speech is bad. How do we know? Cuz a leftist newspaper told us so. I mean just check out these quotes from Newt:

    "different set of rules" and

    "We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade."

    YES FOLKS, those are the only two relevant quotes from Newt in the entire article. No context presented, we just have to take THEIR WORD for it that Newt was talking about turning America into Nazi Germany.

    This article is nothing more than a leftist hit piece and you people are falling for it. Please read the (bogus) article first before going on a posting jihad.
  • Quotes (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:12PM (#17021462) Homepage
    Google News lists a dozen newspapers that are running this story, but they all site this one story as the source. I look forward to hearing more details. Although perhaps, if he really did say something this stupid, we may not hear from him much more.
  • Re:Where to begin? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:26PM (#17021816) Journal
    I've read it. It kills me. Newt totally twists history to suit his agenda -- and the sad thing is, most Americans are so unaware of US history that they don't know enough to realize he is full of it.

    What I don't get, is that he blasts the Federalist movement for the Sedition Act:
    Madison and Thomas Jefferson were very sensitive to limitations on free speech because they lived through the Federalist efforts to criminalize political speech that was critical of the government. In response to the Sedition Act, Madison helped author the Virginia legislature's resolution that declared the act unconstitutional and stated that the law "ought to produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right."

    And yet, somehow, Newt comes down on the other side now. Go figure.
  • Newt (Score:3, Informative)

    by keller95971 ( 956226 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:35PM (#17022056)
    Several points: I have read the transcipt. Newt never said that free speech should be curtailed. Indeed, he said it should be expanded. But what's accuracy between a few friends? It should be pointed that the few attempts at LEGISLATION that would curtail free speech was sponsored by Democrats. It is also worth noting that the PMRC was the brainchild of Tipper Gore and that the panel was packed with Democrats. The two Repulicans on the panel, not any of the Democrats, were the ones who called the opponents of free speech restrictions as witnesses. A lot of folks forget that it was Edwin Meese, the Attorney General at the time and a Republican, wrote a legal opinion opposing the proposed PMRC legislation. He said parents were the bets people to decide whether children should be listening to Frank Zappa or whomever. Next, people like to whine about the suspension of habeas corpus and about warrantless searches, like George Bush invented these things or in responsible for them. Suspension of habeas corpus for prisoners of war has been the standard for nearly 65 years in the United States. In fact, President Lincoln utilized it during wartime. Also, before moving forward on it, President Bush consulted congress, or as I like to call them elected representatives of the people, and had its full support, included the democrats. Meanwhile, there is a legal standard for searches without warrants. Indeed, it's provided for in the U.S. Constitution, and the Bush administration followed the standard required by the court.
  • Re:Their America? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <[enderandrew] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:45PM (#17022258) Homepage Journal
    However, we do know from past experiences that Newt Gingrich doesn't believe in Free Speech. He spearheaded and passed the Telecommunications Decency Act of 1994 if you recall, which made it a federal crime punishable by prison and a $200,000 fine to transmit anything offensive over an electronic medium.

    When interviewed he openly stated that he knew it was unconstitutional, and that he didn't believe in free speech.

    The law was stricken, not for being unconstitutional, but for being unenforcible.
  • by M0b1u5 ( 569472 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @03:49PM (#17022346) Homepage
    What do you mean "become"??? o_O

    Surely you're not so naive as to think the USA isn't responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians (and probably millions in fact) over the last 40 years of fucked-up foreign policy while funding dictators, revolutionaries, drug lords, and private armies?

    Sounds like you need a good dose of Naom Chomsky to me.
  • Re:doesnt get it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:15PM (#17022922)
    Yeah, but that's not a fair anaology because Israel has the most militarized population in the world. Around 8% of Israelis are in the military, actively, as reserve and in paramilitary.

    Compare that to the States where around .8% of Americans are in the military. Much easier to wage an effective popular revolution against the government.
  • I hate it when... (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathan s ( 719490 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:19PM (#17023016) Homepage
    ...stupid lyrics sites get the lyrics wrong.

    "Now there's a have to hook'in fee" - what the fuck does that even mean? And if you google it, a lot of lyric sites have it this way.:-P

    The real lyrics are "No, there's a hefty fuckin' fee" which actually makes sense.:-P
  • Re:Hold on a minute (Score:5, Informative)

    by scheming daemons ( 101928 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @04:35PM (#17023288)
    Nowhere in the Declaration does it state or even imply that the "Creator" is the Judeo-Christian God of the bible.

    It is intentionally vague, so as to apply to everyone's concept of who/what the "Creator" is.

    For example, for Pagans, the Creator = Mother Nature.... and the Declaration means the same.

    Even for an agnostic, "Creator" can mean whatever ends up being true.

    It's a catch-all word that doesn't necessarily mean what you think it means. A large percentage of the founders were Deists, and did not follow strict Christian teachings.... though they did believe in the concept of a supreme being, they didn't necessarily believe in the concept as laid out in the Judeo-Christian bible.

    Side note... nowhere in the Constitution are the words "God" or "Christ" or any equivalent word used. Nowhere. The Declaration of Independence was a statement of grievances to a tyrant, and basically a "Divorce Decree"... it was (and is) not a governing document. *THE* governing document of the United States is the Constitution, and it specifically does NOT speak of a supreme being or even indirectly imply one.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:34PM (#17024396) Journal
    I'm old enough to remember when the threat was all the "evil, godless Communists" who wanted us dead.

    Actually, I do believe that the Founding Fathers intended future methods of communications to be covered by the First Amendment. And even though they could not have envisioned the Internet and Oprah "being beamed around the world", they lived in a time when there was also an explosion of global communications and commerce. The notion that they were some primitives and we need to revise their vision because of religious fanatics (East or West), is just another excuse to lock down the freedoms they fought for.

    Remember, there are people (some of them comment here occasionally), who really don't like the notion of people actually being, you know, free. They'd be much more comfortable being told what to do and what to think. Many of them find solace in Religion because it's a short-cut to having to make your own moral decisions. After all, if all the rules are written down for you, then you don't have to do any of the hard work yourself. Some people like to live like that. None of them were Founding Fathers of this Nation.

    The exceptionalists who want to tell us that terrorism is something so new that we have to start doing a little snip-snip on the Constitution are short on understanding of history or short on brains (I guess short on courage is another possibility). There was a time when the Barbary Pirates brought much of the commerce of United States to a standstill, using terrorist tactics. In fact, they killed more people than Al Qaeda did on 9/11, too. And know what? We made it through by treating them as the criminals they were and putting them out of business. The cool thing is that it took COOPERATION WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD to do it. Tell that to the hairless ape that sleeps in the White House. Not that it will sink in..
  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:27PM (#17025388) Journal
    I want to do everything possible to get the barbaric bastards who keep killing innocent people.

    This guy [wikipedia.org] is responsible for the death of many more innocents [wikipedia.org] than any "islamofascist" I can think of.

    And if I am to trust the Lancet and John Hopkins university, and I certainly trust them more than Fox News, G.W. Bush is responsible for the death of a few hundred times more innocents than this guy. [wikipedia.org]

    So can you go get them, please.

    Yours truly,
    The World.
  • Re:FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by daigu ( 111684 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:41PM (#17025692) Journal

    You don't have to trust the news source. You can go to Newt's site [newt.org] and find quotes like these:

    The very concept of America is under assault. The traditional notion of our country as a union of one people, American peoples, has been assaulted with multicultural, situation ethics, and values neutral model where Western values and American civilization are ignored, minimized or ridiculed.

    The bottom line is pluralism acts as a brake on fanaticism. Newt is a fanatic. He wants all of us to recieve "patriotic education". He has no room in his worldview for different cultures, nuance, or values that differ from his values. He has all the answers, so why on earth would we need free speech? We don't have anything to talk about.

    Luckily, we don't live in Newt's America, and hopefully, we never will.

  • by EQ ( 28372 ) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @02:07AM (#17045654) Homepage Journal
    RTFA - the go and read the "Gingrinch".

    He is not advocating that the first amendment and net be shut - he is PREDICTING that after a large destructive terror attack, the first casualty will be the First Amendment.

    He is basically warning we have to get on the ball now fighting terrorist organization, or else our society will suffer in the backlash of an attack. And the other point which was made was that there is no appeasing the terroist - they are religious fanatics who will attack without provocation. Our mere refusal to submit the the Calihpate (as the Salafists and Wahabists demand) and Sharia law are provocation enough under their warped view of Islam.

    The rest of it (and the typical knee-jerk mischaracterizations on both side here, but especially the typical lefty /.-er who doest read the article) is politics.

    Don't shoot the messenger, look at the message.

    There is some scary truth there - and we shoudl act now to prevent far worse abuses (and deaths) later.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright