Tag Archives: ACLU

What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?

This BitesIn surveying the myriad assaults on freedom of speech and thought, there appears to be a unifying culprit: Groupthink. Borrowing from George Orwell’s 1984, the principle is simply that enormous pressure within a particular group or political party stifles independent thinking or alternative viewpoints.

One of the most honorable aspects of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is that the organization will defend the right for individuals and groups to speak their minds — regardless of how abhorrent they may be (i.e., the KKK).  This basic freedom is under assault from all quarters.

The left and right and media continue their march to the extreme fringes of discourse. They are all complicit in this disgusting trend, which feeds off controversy, fear, emotion, hyperbole, the demise of civility and power of social media. The results are as shameful as they are sickening:

  • In the nation’s capital, Sen. Elizabeth Warren if yanked off the floor for reading a statement by widow of Martin Luther King.
  • Last week in Sacramento, the Democrats did the same thing by removing Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) as she sought to deliver a speech criticizing the late Tom Hayden for his anti-war activities.
  • Panel discussions on both CNN and Fox News are nothing but forums for bias and shouting under the guise of journalism.
  • President Trump bans news outlets from news briefings in retaliation for unfavorable coverage.
  • Universities – including UC Berkeley (birthplace of the free speech movement) cancel speeches from controversial figures.
  • Protestors disrupt town halls with no intention of finding common ground.

What is happening, America?

We have become a state and nation of thin-skinned people who already have their minds made up in lockstep with their peer groups and according to their respective Groupthink labels. In this type of environment, anyone holding a different view is public enemy number one and a target for attack.

This is especially damaging to moderates, who often find themselves in a no-man’s-land that seeks to balance and find   valid elements of opposing views in an effort to reach consensus or compromise. One would think this approach would prevail because most people want solutions. Yet extreme Groupthink drowns it all out. This reality only confirms the adage that the only things in lying in the middle of the road are dead.peace-love

Enough with the labeling. Enough with the intolerance. Enough with hate.

About the only silver bullet the Blue Dog can come up with is to change our national anthem to Nick Lowe’s “(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” as performed by Elvis Costello.

Since this song was written by a Brit, maybe everyone can agree to this. Go ahead and laugh. Got any better ideas?

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Filed under California Legislature, Congress, Donald Trump, Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media, Politics

Hit the Roads, Jack


Sleeping DogWhile right wingers love to pillory the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a leftist organization, the ACLU has historically defended free speech across the spectrum. If the Blue Dog’s memory serves him correctly, the group has even defended the right of such despicable hate groups as the KKK to spew their vitriolic propaganda. The ACLU is at its most credible and noble when it rises above politics and keeps its eye on free speech regardless of how abhorrent or offensive it may be. 

Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at today’s news about Latino legislators and ethnic groups seeking to ban the San Diego Minutemen from the state’s Adopt-A-Highway Program. Okay, so the Minutemen are very close to, if not over, the line when it comes to patriotism bleeding into vigilantism. But is a highway cleanup sponsorship really the hill you want to die on? 

The Blue Dog thinks the issue is a a loser since it plays into the hands of the Minutemen. First, protecting the border is a federal issue; let them deal with it. Second, by elevating this in the media, you give the Minutemen unwarranted stature and attention. Third, while we don’t know where the ACLU is on this, there are likely legitimate free speech issues that make a legal battle futile.  

CalTrans head Will Kempton summed it up best: “The bottom line is there is no way to deny these folks regardless of how we feel about them.”

The Blue Dog recommends a more intriguing tactic: The Hispanic groups should organize their own set of volunteers to oversee the Minutemen’s clean up effort. Police them like the Minutemen police the border. Break out the video cameras to make sure they do their jobs cleaning up California. That would really get their goat. “Hey you missed that cigarette butt over there. Get the lead out, gringos before that Burger King bag blows away.”  There is no telling how much enjoyment could be derived from watching the watchdogs pick up garbage.  

Litter is supposedly such an ominous issue confronting California that the state Legislature has introduced a whole package of ludicrous bills intended to combat the problem (more on that in a future post). So if this truly is such a huge crisis facing the state, then let’s turn the Minutemen loose and divert their energy to picking up trash. Meantime, the Blue Dog is going to take a nap on this one. Wake him up when the roads are clean.

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Filed under California Legislature, Media, Politics