March 9 - CIVIL LIBERTIES - WHAT IT MEANS
I just finished an article this morning -- you know, it's really funny you get this feeling that I've got to write something and you procrastinate and you sit there. Once I sit down and write, all the bull shit pours out. I guess that's what it means to be a journalist. The article's for the Monitor.There is a group that has for years now tried to get the college newspapers to run adds for their organization which argues that the Holocaust never occurred.
Now the Holocaust is what, when we use the term historically? Anybody understand the word Holocaust? When the Jews were put into concentration camps. But the Holocaust is the term that's used for the systematic elimination of six million Jews. -- concentration camps through gas chambers. It's the period of time of Schindler's List and many cases, like in the Ukraine, they weren't using gas chambers and then made them down and then fall back down into lime pits where their bodies would be dissolved and they buried them. Now most of you have heard some of this I suspect? I don't think that history has been that bland in your course. I know that my son just finished up that in his Mission high school sophomore class in history.
The Nazis did not only kill/murder Jews and, although that term implies it ,also there were six million others as well. Gypsy, Jehovah's Witness, homosexuals, handicapped people who were killed. We're talking about the attempt to rid society, by the Nazis, of what they considered to be undesirables. The evil people. So this group who runs these adds to try and see, it seems to have sort of this sense that all of this was made up, that the bodies that they found and had pictures of were really German citizens killed by the allied bombing that there was an international Jewish conspiracy to try and deceive the world to make the German's look bad. Despite all the thousands of documents and testimonies, including of course the studies of the gas chambers and the lime pits. But they command an academic hearing, they say that it should be studied, deny their rights for learning and peoples right to learn the "truth", at least their truth.
By the way, this is where that statement came from to some extent by Rev. Martin Niemueller that -- he is in my book -- if you recall, I mentioned he supported Hitler. He's a Lutheran minister. When Hitler came to power in 1938 he was arrested and put in a camp. He didn't -- he wasn't put into a death camp. After the war, he wrote a number of Lutheran theological tracks. In my book I paraphrase it if you recall, the statement by Rev. Niemueller was:
First they came for the handicapped and mental retarded. Since I was not
handicapped nor mental retarded, I didn't say anything. And then they came
for the homosexuals. And I was not a.homosexual, so I didn't say anything.
And then they came for the Jews. And I was not a Jew, so I didn't say
anything. And then they came for the communist. And I was not a
communist, so I didn't say anything. Then they came for the gypsy, and the
Jehovah's Witness, so I didn't say anything. Then they came for the labor
leaders. I was not a labor leader, so I did not say anything. Then they came
for the catholic priests and nuns. And I was not a Catholic priest nor a nun,
so I didn't say anything. And then they came for me, and there was no one
left to say anything.
Here we have, of course, the underlying history of Nazi Germany. The absolute ultimate violation of civil liberties, the taking of life, the taking of liberty, the refusal to allow people to "pursue happiness" and the adviser to the Monitor has decided to run the ad. It's a paid ad, but he's also going to run a spread about commentary and so he asked me to write a short article pertaining to the end of the Holocaust and of course the Holocaust deniers and our right to be heard. I started out -- the title of my essay is The Flat Earth Society. Which I think explains it all. So it was fun to write.
I support civil liberties. I said that, but does a group who believes that Elvis Presley is actually alive and well in Moscow or that the United States never landed on the moon, it was really a false testing ground and pictures were taken in the Nevada desert? Do they have the freedom, academically, to present their positions in courses at the colleges and universities? Should they be presenting these
positions in an academic institution? Where is that then -- is that a denial of civil liberties? Maybe it is, but then the whole point is that we have to weigh what has a valid learning and what does not. Obviously from my perspective, if they want to have free speech, they have free speech. Internet chat rooms. Internet news groups.Talk shows, Jerry Springer. Those are all available to people to try and present their perspective. But an academic institution has to set certain standards. It is not relativism that anything has a right to be heard and that's why I said to you, when you present your positions on a paper, your position are fine, but I can't grade you on your position. It has to be supported with some sort of academic sorts. Even though valid and prove to be valid and maybe in the long run Elvis Presley really is alive.
There's a group in New York called the Insane Liberation Front. They argue that they're not insane, it's just that other people haven't got the ability, the perception -- to be able to see the snakes crawling on the walls, that their perception out does everyone and therefore others lack knowledge, lack facts, lack the real details. Now again, maybe they're right. But we do have certain levels of standards and responsibilities. We don't stop free speech, but we may well dictate where that speech is determined. So, throughout our history, where we've supported civil liberties in our country, because Americans have a tremendous deep history of belief in civil liberties, even though our government has violated them from time to time. The fact is that at certain times we have determined certain activities as not to be allowed because they are destructive to the moral fiber of society or to values and traditions. Sometimes that's hard because there will be groups that disagree.
Censorship of course we all are familiar with. Where do we draw the line? There is a group whose headquarters is in Pleasanton. It's NAMBLA. North American Man/Boy Love Association. They think social sex between male adults & young boys should be legal because it allows the boys to learn about what sex is and it will be a good growth and mature experience, like in ancient Greece, the old man becomes Mentor. This was a Greek tradition. Well, we do allow them to preach their views. But we don't allow them to act on their views and that is the difference. We have to assert a certain standard and say okay you can try and convince us. The minority does have a right to try and convince the majority but they don't have a right to act on their views. They don't have a right to deceive the public either.
In San Francisco a few years ago the group was having meetings at the San Francisco public
library and parents found out about it because they were right next to youth groups. Parents were concerned because some of these individuals had been busted as pedifiles. They had records of sex offenses and they were upset because they had not been informed that this group was meeting there. You have a right to know that that group is meeting there. Don't you? So that you want to keep your kids away. They argued that they had a right not to be harassed and to meet secretly in that sense or without knowledge. Well, again, whose right prevails? The right of the group to privacy or the right of the parent to protect our child? Obviously society protects today the right of the parent to make the decision as to whether or not they feel rightly or wrongly that their child should be protected.
It's like for elementary schools they register sex offenders they give you that map and tell you where they live. And various groups fight that. They feel that the right of privacy of the sex offender is being violated, and it is. They don't tell you the name or anything they just give you -- well there's a list on a CD ROM with the names of the people on the register that you can
obtain as well. That is a violation of civil liberties.
There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We waive the right in certain indications, the so-called Megan Laws because of the, -the girl was murdered by a convicted sex offender, guy across the street. And many people do object to it. How far do we push the right of liberty versus the right of civil rights? Now, in our state of California if sex education is going to be taught in the schools, they inform your parents. They have to sign off on it. If parents don't want the child to go to that sex education class because they want them to go out and be sexual, and learn from their friends or whatever, I'm being a wise ass here. The fact is that based on that, parents can take their child out and let them go to the library during that time.
Well in Tennessee, 1987, one of the most brilliant cases of censorship came forward. A group of fundamentalist parents did not argue for censorship. They listed 300 books that were on the programs in the schools that they felt were in opposition to their religion and that their children should be warned when they're read. Their children should be allowed to go to the library so that they would not be perverted from these books. Books like Cinderella, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Wizard of Oz, books about dinosaurs, other religions, My Friend Flicka. Why? These are books that have been censored some other places. Here they weren't asking for censorship they were asking for their children to be able to leave. Their right not to be confronted by stories about magic because magic is with the devil. The Wizard of Oz you have a good witch. They can't be good. They're related to the devil.
In Anne Frank, she said something to the effect that it doesn't matter what religion you are as long as you believe in God. To them it does matter. Dinosaurs could be taught, but only to be ten thousand years old, but if older than that, it violates that in the Bible humans were created within the last ten thousand years in a special creation. Other religions are objectionable. I could go on and on with all of these particular issues. I can remember it well enough because I've been talking about it for a few years now. They won their case in the lower courts the first court says when it went to an appeals court the court ruled that if every parent or group of parents had determined what a school's curriculum could or could not be, at that point you would not have an educational system.
Well today there are many people who are making another step which was not around years ago. In most states they're pulling their kids out of school. Not because schools are bad, that's one thing, but they're educating them in home schooling because they believe the schools are immoral in the kinds of things they're teaching, which is different. I mean there are some circumstances for certain children that need to be home schooled in certain educational areas. The homeschool movement has exploded in this country in recent years to avoid what they consider to be the degradation of the public school system. Not the educational level, but the moral level. But values are there. Should they have a right to educate their children? Well perhaps they should. Outside of the school system, but to what influence should certain groups have on the education decisions. Last year I was sitting on the site counsel where the parents decided on things like on funds that come in from the state. And we decide on the in-service days. Well unanimously the site counsel decided that one of the days was to be a day where there will be discussion of - homosexual - but to avoid the word homosexuality, childrens confusion. It's a children confusion issue, but they wouldn't to spend money because of the need to deal with the emotional problem that some go through who were in high school and are identifying themselves with homosexuality. Mission has a homosexual club on campus at this point. Not to educate the children, but to educate the teachers how to deal with these children and how to treat them as human beings so that they don't commit suicide or that they don't feel the pressures of the peer groups who can be pretty vicious obviously at the secondary school level. That was the intent. They've done many, many in-service days.
The word got out and a number of parents came down to the Fremont school board and the board banned Mission high school from doing that as an in-service day. Because of pressure from the community. The attitude for that group is that if you discuss these kinds of issues it will make people that way. It will open the door to relativism that it is perfectly all right to experiment and once you do, you create a pattern of being homosexual so that you turn into a homosexual. It's linking many men. If a male sits down, they jump away fast like the virus is going to spread to them and they will become gay. Well, let's face it folks. It doesn't jump over at you. But that's my point of view, I guess.
In any case, the fact is that these kinds of pressures are put on the school. We have had numerous books constantly banned throughout this country. By various communities, school boards, libraries, and cities. Among the most active book being banned is the American Heritage dictionary. Did I mention that earlier? Does anybody know why the dictionary is banned? It defined curse words. But it not only defines the curse word, it defines the derivatives - not the S word, it defines mother F. The attitude of many people is that if the words are defined, then people will use them and it will destroy their moral fiber because evil will prevail. I'll tell you right now that there was the major reason I had to get out of the south, no matter what you say about the south. The thing I could not deal with was the fact that people avoided cursing to the extent of ridiculousness. They had to constantly say, gee whiz, golly, and shucks. I wanted to get somewhere in the world where it was real and people said shit when they were upset. Not joking. The hypocrisy drove me nuts.
I was at an Earth Day rally and this student of mine, he over did cursing. He had a real New York accent and every word was the S-word. He was on one side of the room I was on the other and I got up and gave this political discussion, every other word was the S-word. He got into -
everybody interjected by this guy and he says you carpet baggers come down here. You can deal with that kind of filthy mouth talking in front of your women folk don't stand like that and if you need to defecate out of your mouth, then you go outside and you defecate, but not in here not with our women folk. Then he sits down and I hear him lean over to his wife and say, "I told that son of a bitch off, didn't I?" I mean -- I'm sorry. Values are one thing, hypocrisy is something else from my perspective.
What book has probably been the most banned in this country? Huck Finn, feelings it is derogatory and will spread racism. The surprising element of that - it was banned in a school called Samuel Clemmons high school, who was Mark Twain. The fact is that Mark Twain himself was far from a racist. He was recording history the way it was and supported black colleges financially and scholarships in the 19th century. So you get into -- do we study things for its words or do we ban it either from the left or the right, and not just the conservatives as we were dealing with, but as you indicated many radical left want certain issues banned.
Jews in New York attempted to ban the Merchant of Venice because it's derogatory towards Jews. The city of Indianapolis passed legislation banning Playboy and Penthouse magazine because it was promoting violence against women. Well do they? There's no doubt in my mind that there may be people who will pick up on violence from reading those magazines or looking at the pictures. But when Bundy said - because he started reading Penthouse magazine he was laughing at society. Just before his execution. The statistics don't bear it out. Because if Playboy and Penthouse magazine created rapists and murderers, there wouldn't be many women left. But if it does kill 1 woman or 2 women then maybe there have to be studies to indicate that. The studies aren't there and we draw the line about responsibility. Maybe there is a need to educate people to the fact that those magazines are derogatory, but education is different than censorship.
We talk about government censorship. Education allows people to be aware and make their own choices. That's what we call responsibility. If you've been reading the papers the last two days, an appeals court just over turned a district court. The district court ruled that the lawsuit against Natural Born Killers by Oliver Stone could not go forth. The law against it says that Oliver Stone and the movie producers put out that film to incite violence because they wanted to get publicity and therefore people would go see Natural Born Killers. Their own negative attitude that this was a factor in historically. The woman who sued the parents who sued one of their kids was killed by people who were emulating the people in the film. The appeals court said that no lawsuit was able to go forward that they could sue on that principle. It doesn't say that that principle was right. They just have a burden to prove that it was the intent to cause violence.
It's an interesting kind of an argument because if you remember a guy name Hinkley, which you were too young to remember directly, attempted to murder president Reagan because he was trying to impress Jody Foster because he fell in love with her in the movie Taxi. Do you ban the film because one nut takes some element of that film and goes crazy? Where do you draw the line? But certainly from my perspective responsibility becomes important. What kind of responsibility? I think it becomes pretty obvious that certain things should not appear.
When I first came to California it was in the middle of the sexual revolution. Everything was open and you begin to wonder do you really need it in. I don't believe in censorship, but I believe there's an extent to openness. I take my kid to buy a slurpee and right in front were all the sex magazines and the kid says dad look at that. What's that? Why do I have to deal with that. Later of course
7-11 put boards in front of it so only the adults could see over it. Um, 7-11 doesn't sell their magazines now. It's not censorship, it's a personal choice of business. When government forces it becomes censorship, but they took responsibility.
One day I take my kid to the Union City drive in. They're gone. They're putting up a 25 theater complex. 25 theaters that's got to be immense. I took my kid to see a Walt Disney film. On the screen right next to us was this X-rated film and all of a sudden my little 7 year old was watching the same film I am. Now there's no need for that. They used to have a couple of accidents on the highway every few weeks. So how do we draw the line? The book that's been banned is Catcher in the Rye. Well number one, curse words. The F-word's in there and probably more so is people see it as questioning the authority of the parents. Once you question the authority of the parents, according to the Bible, you should be stoned, at least in the Old Testament. So rather than open the door to legitimacy of rebellion by teenagers, they would prefer to have the book banned because it might inspire some other children to talk back to their parents, to rebel against their parental values.
The list of books goes on and on. The list consists the closing off of value systems and of course as I say you have to wait. Civil liberties and rights are different but then they overlap - and I don't know how much of this I went into. A few years back in New Jersey, a group at a fundamentalist church asked the teenagers of the church to bring in their rock music and their sex books or whatever. They had a big bonfire, the teenagers burned them. The daughter of the minister was quoted in the paper as saying, I have to burn these materials because rock makes me feel lustfull and this is the way to prevent my lust. It reminded me of the Salem witch trials. Now was that a civil rights or liberties relation? Burning that material. Not really, why? Because they own it. You have a right to destroy what you own, that's your choice. They didn't go out and take it from somebody. But when Hitler ordered that kind of material burned and had book burnings then you got a civil liberties violation. So persons therefore can do what they want within limitations. However, if they started you because you're black or Mexican or because you're Jewish then we go beyond individual rights. If I were to push you on the street but if I push you because you're black, it's not only battery, it's also a hate crime. We refer to it as a civil rights violation and what happens? I then ask government to protect me from those individuals or groups who want to eliminate my life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness. That's a civil right when you ask government to intervene. When government prohibits something it could be a civil liberty violation but we often ask government to protect our civil rights.
Q For the disabled, like when you ask the government to protect?
A Sure. It's a form of civil rights to create equal opportunity. However, what if I'm a restaurant owner and I say this is my business. It would cost me too much money. I'd lose money if I had to put up a ramp for the handicapped to come in. If I had to build a rest room for the handicapped to use. Why should I do that? It's not good for business. I don't want those people there. They upset people while they're eating dinner. Years ago they were allowed to. Weren't they? Their civil right, their right to decide how they want to make their own money up until about 20 years ago. We weigh it differently. Today we decided that their liberty to choose to decide the equal opportunity of people in society - and today business people can't do that because we provide equality for the handicapped and for others. They cannot refuse services to people because of gender, because of race, because of creed, belief, or because of any disability that they may have. Despite the fact that you see signs up that say, we reserve the right to serve whom we please. That means a totally different thing. They can reserve the right to serve people and not serve people who were disruptful, who come in without clothes on.
In fact, that's a good reason. Let's talk about something that can destroy your digestion. I think the most disappointing thing in my life is to go to a nude beach. People look so much better with clothes. Fantasy is so much better.
However, that nude guy in Berkeley and others claim it's part of their religion and creed. Maybe in the future they could win their argument for nudity. That group that does their plays nude in Berkeley, the police have been going nuts. They finally had to change the laws because, they made it a misdemeanor ticket, rather than one that would go in court because it was costing the city a lot of money. This is in the last few months in the newspaper. They can prevent those people - maybe in the future they won't. Just like people used to prevent blacks or Jews or others, or had it in their contracts you couldn't sell to a black family or to a Jewish family. Those are part of the contracts not unusual, acceptable business practice. Not acceptable today. But when we take away the right and say I don't want to sell my home to an Asian, aren't I taking away my liberty when the government?
Sure we are. But we've weighed the equal opportunity of the Asians to participate in our society above my right to sell publicly. Can I still meet publicly with racists in a school or business or a club that's racist? Sure I can, as long as it doesn't impact the public. But where do we draw the lines? Obviously we take away the liberty of the bar owner to make money when people smoke in his bar. But today the law says no smoking. It's detrimental to the people. But what about the people who want to smoke? What about the bar owner who wants to make money? Well, right now they introduced a bill that's an attempt to overturn that. To allow the bar patrons and the workers to allow for smoking in the bars. I'm not sure how they would do that. So we have to weigh it. Our value systems change. Sometimes liberties prevail. Sometimes equality prevails. So when civil rights are being demonstrated, when Martin Luther King spoke, he did so with the concept that he was trying to get the federal government to intervene, to stop racism, to stop segregation by state, by local and by individual people. Because there was a higher and more natural law. In so doing he committed civil disobedience and what is that? The willful refusal to obey a law which you think is illegal. The difference being that he didn't bitch, cry, and scream when he got busted.
The whole point was that when you got busted in civil disobedience you go to prison. He wrote his letters from a Burmingham jail identifying the horrors of the law but since it was the law, we accept it until we get it changed. That's the non-violence principle as to why - Martin Luther King junior followed the principles of Gandhi - are so well respected, because they did stand up for their beliefs and they weren't little whiners, cry babies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson the great American poet went to Thoreau who was protected at that time, but he was in prison nd Ralph Waldo Emerson went up to Thoreau and said, why are you doing this, why are you here? And he said that's not the question Ralph, the question is why aren't you here? That's why there's civil disobedience, so if you don't agree with the law you can protest it. You can demonstrate and speak out. That's what democracy is about. Also taking the consequences. And responsibilities of not destroying other people by blowing up buildings - the Timothy McVeighs of the world, and killing other innocent people. Although there are those that feel that's the only way they can be heard. Civil liberties and rights- therefore liberties and equality do conflict. Because we indicated with the story and many examples.
Another example of the conflict in waiting is abortion. The Supreme court in 1973, God knows how many times, ruled that states could not ban abortion. Under the principle that women have the privacy, in a sense, the liberty, the choice, that it is a woman's body, it is her liberty. It is her right. It is her choice, liberty, government could not ban. However, pro life people argue, what about the civil right of the unborn, of the preborn. Somebody has to speak out for this new Holocaust. They speak out for the Genocide of so many millions. Of so many you have violated - civil rights by taking their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. They argue that that right then is considered higher than the liberty of a female's body. Of course the courts have decided that they don't think it's a life. They can't defend a life. Therefore, they have not upheld it as a life, but that is the argument. The argument between the liberty of the female's body and the civil right perhaps of the fetus that might be and is a potential life.
Conflict continues. It's a very difficult role, but the reason Americans have civil liberties is because we stand up for them. Perhaps even more, the reason we continue to have them even though our government has violated - one of the biggest violations, slavery, perhaps another phenomenal
violation, the Japanese being put under executive order 9066. We have had thousands of cases of - but Americans have always objected at some point. And some point perhaps we have demanded a redress of grievance historically.
I lost where I was going. The reason for the civil liberties being preserved is in part again our
constitution. It is the direct distribution of power in our country, there isn't one power. Our separation of powers are checks and balances that allow civil liberty to prevail because if one agency of government violates, there is another one we can appeal to. So if the local government is in violation we can go to the state government. If the legislature, we go to the courts. If the courts don't listen, maybe we go to the executive branch, and if all government violates then we go to perhaps the most powerful institution, the media. And the media, if they buy into it, may create enough publicity to bring about a change in the legislation or in the enforcement, based on people's sense of justice. Americans have as a whole a sense of justice. A sense of right and wrong. A sense of liberty. A sense of civil rights.
And the best example: Rodney King. Did I speak about Rodney King at all? You remember Rodney King was the African-American who was brutally beaten by the police in the Watts area? And it was videotaped. Everybody agrees he was a loser, he was a hateful person, he took drugs, he was a criminal, in fact he just got busted yesterday, day before, for beating up his wife again.
However, when Americans saw the video tape they said nobody, as a human being, no matter what they done, deserves that treatment because the police cannot be judge and jury. The role of the police is to act as restrainers not enforcers. Therefore we wound up with civil liberty suits, battery suits against the police as well as civil rights suits. In Simi Valley the police won. They won the civil liberties charge. They won against the battery charge, but people were not satisfied. The government was not satisfied. They felt that a man who - the people were insensed that here we have proof - video tape. So new charges were filed, call it double jeopardy, if you will, in the federal courts that he violated the civil rights, and the police were convicted and received jail sentences up to 10 years. Justice? Perhaps. It's always a question as to what really constitutes justice, but certainly the point I'm making is that it isn't just one institution. Our society can preserve certain liberties, but we have multiple institutions that will fight for a particular cause. And will fight to defend and support civil rights.
Civil liberties can conflict as well. The Bill of Rights is really the Bill of Liberties. There are a number of things our constitution provides in the Bill of Rights. You have a right to a fair trial. The Constitution also provides for freedom of the press. Those are both liberties. However, what happens when the press refuses to give information in a trial and it may effect the outcome of that trial? The press says we have liberty. We have to protect our sources otherwise we can't be the watch dog of democracy. However the courts have unanimously, almost always, ruled, if there is beyond a reasonable doubt that that information from the press would impact the right to a fair trial, the right to a fair trial prevails and the press will be held in contempt of court.
They must reveal their sources or go to prison or pay a fine because we weighed the liberties. The liberty of a fair trial is weighed above the liberty of the press. So we do have to make judgments. Society makes those judgments which you and I may not agree to. What about the right of a person not to wear a helmet and kill themselves versus my right as an individual not to have to pay for somebody's stupidity for a trauma unit and helicopters? Usually they argue I have a right not to wear a helmet. I have a right not to pay for your stupidity. Well you don't have to, yeah, but I still have to pay for the police to show up and clean the blood on the sidewalk. We weigh those things today. Today, the right to not to wear a helmet has been taken away. Today the law says that motorcycle helmets are required and bicycle helmets for those under 18 are required. It helps parents too. But when the law says it you got a little extra argument on your side. Now we need snowboard helmets.
How do the courts decide on what is a civil liberty, a civil right? How do they weigh them? How do they decide which prevails? There are four interpretations courts use. Probably others, but we break it down into four groups. There is the absolute interpretation. The clear and present danger interpretation. The dangerous tendency interpretation, and the balancing of interest. The lower courts, being the trial courts, are more likely to use a dangerous tendency or clear and present danger. But the higher you go in the court, the closer it gets to a clear absolute interpretation. So the Supreme Court and others will not be as lenient to a dangerous tendency interpretation. Absolute interpret says what it means. The word says civil liberties cannot be suspended. They are absolute. What they say is what they mean. They can't be suspended. Free speech is free speech. The right to carry weapons is the right to carry a weapon. They cannot be qualified. Abby Hoffman once said that freedom of speech is your right to yell theater in a crowded fire. Now that is a take off on the old adage, your freedom of speech ends with your right to yell fire in a crowded theater. Most people have heard it obviously referring to the fact that if you yell fire in a crowded theater, it can create panic and it obviously is a clear and present danger because people can be stampeded to death. What if there really is a fire? Or you think there is? Where do you draw the line? Your right to free speech ends with the other person's nose. Where the other persons nose is beginning. Well that would mean you have less free speech because I've got a bigger nose. Where do we then draw the line? Abby Hoffman was also, in his protest against the Vietnam war and the culture of America - he was commenting on the first cases where those words were used. The case where the term freedom of speech ended with your right to yell fire in a crowded theater because it created a clear and present danger.
That case was Schenck versus the United States. That's on your word list and beginning with an S. Schenck was a socialist. Who during U-S-entry into WW I, 1917, spread propaganda, spread information advocating that people not go to war, that they not be drafted and not go fight for the country. Believing that it was an international conspiracy by businesses to make known that there was know reason or cause for the war except for capitalism. He was busted under the subversive act for inciting people not to go to war, talking against the war under what facts is they were called subversive acts to prevent subversion. During WW I. They in fact prevented free speech. If the people opposed the war. He sued, of course, went to the Supreme court. He was convicted and the Supreme court was headed by one of the great jurors of our history and a liberal, Oliver Wendell Holmes. The Schenck case appeared in 1919 and he lost. The Supreme Court ruled , I think it was unanimously, that his action was like yelling fire in a crowded theater. It was a clear and present danger because by asking people or demanding that people not participate in the war it could
convince some people not to go and that could effect the outcome of the battle and therefore impact the safety and security of the United States.
Should we have urban warriors in Oakland? Who knows what I'm talking about? One. That's it? Nobody else knows about the urban warriors in Oakland today? Didn't I ask you to please listen to the news? Or read the newspapers? The U.S. Marines are running a simulation in Oakland to prevent urban terrorists and they're fighting terrorists with blank bullets to see how well the soldiers learn how to deal with a possible terrorist take over in Oakland. Nobody heard this on the news? . She read it in the Chinese paper. Interesting, in the editorial section today there's a guy in town who got kicked off of campus. He's the type of guy that always walked around with a bicycle helmet with his mirror in case of attack. He has bracelets with the large spikes and he'd carry this big knife on his side. He was tough little guy. Probably shorter than I am. Always paranoid talking about always writing letters about anti gun control and about the socialists and communists trying to take
our guns from us. Generally I'm glad he writes the letters because I think it lets out the steam. My own feeling is thisis the kind of person that if he didn't get the steam out could easily go into McDonalds and shoot it up. In any case, today's letter was surprising. He attacked -- he made the comment accusing these demonstrators against the urban warriors as being socialists and being anti American. And he said let me write it from the perspective of a real American one who has served his country or words to that effect. I am opposed to the urban warriors. He's opposed to them having the Marines having it because this is a militia issue. All of Americans should be armed. We should have this posse. Where is the shooting gallery we're supposed to have in Fremont so that we citizens can take up our guns and shoot these terrorists when they appear? Philosophy always amazes me how things get projected and twisted. I never would have expected him to oppose the
military training. You never know.
In New York city you see cars saying please do not break this window because there is no
radio, there is no stereo. It's not worth it. I'm serious. There's signs on the cars.
The organization perhaps that does argue for the absolute position is the National Rifle Association but only of one absolute in the Constitution. They say that the Second Amendment is -- it means what it says, that everybody should have a right to bear arms whatever they are. No bare legs, just arms. And therefore they hold as the absolute effect to do that any qualifications banning hollow point bullets or whatever, any of those kinds of bans will be detrimental to the ability to defend themselves to the militia to defend itself and more so would open the door by creating other laws which will wind up taking away the weapons from people who must have them to protect against oppressive government, against crime and terrorists.
Interestingly, the second amendment has not been interpreted by the courts the way the NRA has. In 1939 the Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment does not apply to the people. The world of the second -- in other words, they said there is no right to bear arms. Which of course for some reason the NRA may argue, but people don't hear that we hear that you have a right. In 1939, well the second amendment reads a well regulated militia being necessary to a free society the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. All you ever see is the right to bear arms. You don't see the first part. What the Supreme court ruled was that a well regulated militia is a government militia. The state militia and unless it is not a true government militia you don't have a right to bear
arms. You have to be a member of that militia. Of course the NRA argues that all people are a part and therefore we should be walking around carrying weapons. Now further court decisions have generally up held the right to ban weapons. They feel that's a state issue. The NRA feels that those court decisions are inaccurate or misinterpreted.
In 1982, Morton Grove in Illinois, a village, banned any kind of guns rifles or pistols. The national rifle association sued. In the federal courts. They threw it out and said it was a state issue. It had to go through the state courts and doesn't pertain to the federal constitution and since there was nothing in the Illinois constitution that gave them a right to beare arms, Morton Grove was able to ban bearing arms.
California does have in it's constitution a right to bear arms. Some states actually have a right to carry arms in their constitution. By the way, when Morton Grove banned weapons that every head of the household carry a gun. Couldn't be challenged because there was no penalty involved. In New York city since 1890 the ownership of weaponry has been banned. You can get a permit, but it's very difficult to get a hold of. You really have to prove the need for carrying to get a permit either for sport or for protection. And sales cannot be any kind of -- and including BB guns not to have a BB gun to shoot my friends and the birds with. So the first thing I did when I came to California. I bought a BB gun I felt like a real man again. This is my pistol, this is my gun. This is for shooting, this is for fun.
The other organization that stands up for the absolute interpretation that is best known and most hated is the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union. Who argued that they don't defend the kooks, the weirdos, and the nuts. They defends the Constitution. When they take a kook, a
weirdo, a nut case, they're not defending them. They're defending all people, all rights. Because if they lose, then we lose. Our liberties are qualified. Now I have to admit that at times I wish the ACLU would lose some of their cases, although I do support and have been a card carrying member of it. Because let me tell you, I am very happy that there are kooks, nuts, and weirdos out there
because if we didn't have those people, I'd be the kook, nut, and weirdo. And I'd be gone.
Q Are you having our midterm --
A I said I wouldn't tell you. It's what I said. Not until I decide it. So I can't answer you when I said I haven't decided it, right?