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Freedom Forum | Newseum Institute

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Nov 032015

The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy, and is the principal funder of the Newseum and Newseum Institute.

The Newseum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Newseum, including the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Centerand the Newseums Education department.

The Newseum Institute also is affiliated with the Al Neuharth Media Centerat the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, which houses segments of the Institutes First Amendment and diversity education and training programs, including training sessions for the Chips Quinn Scholars program, and various seminars and symposiums such as the Minority Writers Seminar, operated in cooperation with the Association of Opinion Journalists.

The Freedom Forum was established July 4, 1991,under the direction of founder Al Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett. The Freedom Forum is not affiliated with Gannett Co. Its work is supported by income from an endowment of diversified assets.

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Libertarianism and Objectivism – Wikipedia, the free …

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Nov 032015

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has been and continues to be a major influence on the libertarian movement, particularly in the United States. Many libertarians justify their political views using aspects of Objectivism.[1] However, the views of Rand and her philosophy among prominent libertarians are mixed and many Objectivists are hostile to non-Objectivist libertarians in general.[2]

Some libertarians, including Murray Rothbard and Walter Block, hold the view that the non-aggression principle is an irreducible concept: it is not the logical result of any given ethical philosophy but, rather, is self-evident as any other axiom is. Rand, too, argued that liberty was a precondition of virtuous conduct,[3] but argued that her non-aggression principle itself derived from a complex set of previous knowledge and values. For this reason, Objectivists refer to the non-aggression principle as such, while libertarians who agree with Rothbard’s argument call it “the non-aggression axiom.” Rothbard and other anarcho-capitalists hold that government requires non-voluntary taxation to function and that in all known historical cases, the state was established by force rather than social contract.[4] They thus consider the establishment and maintenance of the night-watchman state supported by Objectivists to be in violation of the non-aggression principle. On the other hand, Rand believes that government can in principle be funded through voluntary means.[5]

Jennifer Burns in her biography Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, notes how Rand’s position that “Native Americans were savages”, and that as a result “European colonists had a right to seize their land because native tribes did not recognize individual rights”, was one of the views that “particularly outraged libertarians.”[6] Burns also notes how Rand’s position that “Palestinians had no rights and that it was moral to support Israel, the sole outpost of civilization in a region ruled by barbarism”, was also a controversial position amongst libertarians, who at the time were a large portion of Rand’s fan base.[6]

Libertarians and Objectivists often disagree about matters of foreign policy. Rand’s rejection of what she deemed to be “primitivism” extended to the Middle East peace process in the 1970s.[6][7] Following the Arab-Israeli War of 1973, Rand denounced Arabs as “primitive” and “one of the least developed cultures” who “are typically nomads.”[7] Consequently, Rand contended Arab resentment for Israel was a result of the Jewish state being “the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their (Arabs) continent”, while decreeing that “when you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are.”[7] Many libertarians were highly critical of Israeli government at the time.[citation needed]

Most scholars of the libertarian Cato Institute have opposed military intervention against Iran,[8] while the Objectivist Ayn Rand Institute has supported forceful intervention in Iran.[9][10]

The United States Libertarian Party’s first candidate for president of the United States, John Hospers, credited Rand as a major force in shaping his own political beliefs.[11]David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank, described Rand’s work as “squarely within the libertarian tradition” and that some libertarians are put off by “the starkness of her presentation and by her cult following.”[12]Milton Friedman described Rand as “an utterly intolerant and dogmatic person who did a great deal of good.”[13] One Rand biographer quoted Murray Rothbard as saying that he was “in agreement basically with all [Rand’s] philosophy,” and saying that it was Rand who had “convinced him of the theory of natural rights…”[14] Rothbard would later become a particularly harsh critic of Rand, writing in The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult that:

The major lesson of the history of the [objectivist] movement to libertarians is that It Can Happen Here, that libertarians, despite explicit devotion to reason and individuality, are not exempt from the mystical and totalitarian cultism that pervades other ideological as well as religious movements. Hopefully, libertarians, once bitten by the virus, may now prove immune.[15]

Some Objectivists have argued that Objectivism is not limited to Rand’s own positions on philosophical issues and are willing to work with and identify with the libertarian movement. This stance is most clearly identified with David Kelley (who separated from the Ayn Rand Institute because of disagreements over the relationship between Objectivists and libertarians), Chris Sciabarra, Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden’s former wife), and others. Kelley’s Atlas Society has focused on building a closer relationship between “open Objectivists” and the libertarian movement.[citation needed]

Rand condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both modern liberalism and conservatism.[16] Rand regarded Objectivism as an integrated philosophical system. Libertarianism, in contrast, is a political philosophy which confines its attention to matters of public policy. For example, Objectivism argues positions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, whereas libertarianism does not address such questions. Rand believed that political advocacy could not succeed without addressing what she saw as its methodological prerequisites. Rand rejected any affiliation with the libertarian movement and many other Objectivists have done so as well.[17]

Rand said of libertarians that:

They’re not defenders of capitalism. They’re a group of publicity seekers…. Most of them are my enemies… I’ve read nothing by Libertarians (when I read them, in the early years) that wasn’t my ideas badly mishandledi.e., the teeth pulled out of themwith no credit given.”[16]

In a 1981 interview, Rand described libertarians as “a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people” who “plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose.”[16]

Responding to a question about the Libertarian Party in 1976, Rand said:

The trouble with the world today is philosophical: only the right philosophy can save us. But this party plagiarizes some of my ideas, mixes them with the exact oppositewith religionists, anarchists and every intellectual misfit and scum they can findand call themselves libertarians and run for office.”[18]

In 2011, Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, spoke at the Foundation for Economic Education.[19] He was a keynote speaker at FreedomFest 2012.[20] He appeared on ReasonTV on July 26, 2012.[21]

Ayn Rand Institute board member John Allison spoke at the Cato Club 200 Retreat in September 2012,[22] contributed “The Real Causes of the Financial Crisis” to Cato’s Letter,[23] and spoke at Cato’s Monetary Conference in November, 2011.[24]

On June 25, 2012, the Cato Institute announced that John Allison would become its next president.[25] In Cato’s public announcement, Allison was described as a “revered libertarian.” In communication to Cato employees, he wrote, “I believe almost all the name calling between libertarians and objectivists is irrational. I have come to appreciate that all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists.”[26]

On October 15, 2012, Brook explained the changes to The American Conservative:

I dont think theres been a significant change in terms of our attitude towards libertarians. Two things have happened. Weve grown, and weve gotten to a size where we dont just do educational programs, we do a lot more outreach and a lot more policy and working with other organizations. I also believe the libertarian movement has changed. Its become less influenced by Rothbard, less influenced by the anarchist, crazy for lack of a better word, wing of libertarianism. As a consequence, because were bigger and doing more things and because libertarianism has become more reasonable, we are doing more work with them than we have in the past. But I dont think ideologically anything of substance has changed at the Institute.[27]

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Libertarianism and Objectivism – Wikipedia, the free …

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Free speech news, articles and information: – NaturalNews

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Nov 022015

Tell Congress to support the Free Speech about Science Act of 2011 4/13/2011 – Last year, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), a nonprofit organization that works very hard to promote and protect freedom of health speech, came up with a very important piece of legislation called the Free Speech about Science Act (FSAS) that is designed to lift the restrictions on health speech… Support the Free Speech About Science Act and restore freedom of health speech 5/27/2010 – The Alliance for Natural Health, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting access to natural and integrative medicine, has recently come up with a Congressional bill designed to stop government censorship of truthful, scientific health claims about natural foods and herbs, and restore free speech… NaturalNews to launch Free Speech video network 5/4/2010 – On the heels of increasing video censorship committed by YouTube against natural health videos, NaturalNews is announcing the upcoming launch of its worldwide, multilingual video network called NaturalNews.TV. The service goes live in late June and is designed to offer a Free Speech platform for videos… Ron Paul Introduces Three New Bills Designed to Restore Free Speech to Health 8/10/2009 – In recent years, numerous companies have been targeted, raided, and even shut down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for making health claims about the products they sell. These federal agencies operate outside the realm of constitutional legitimacy and thus… FDA tyranny and the censorship of cherry health facts (opinion) 5/2/2006 – In the past, I jokingly said that broccoli might someday be banned as soon as the public begins to learn about the potent anti-cancer chemicals found in the vegetable. Thats because, as I jested, the FDA wouldnt want people treating their own cancer with the anti-cancer medicines found in cruciferous… Counterthink roundup: Free Speech, Google News, and Big Brother (satire) 1/31/2006 – New provisions in the Patriot Act, which are about to become law, will make it a felony crime for protestors to step foot outside official “protest zones” designated by the U.S. Secret Service. This is how President Bush expands the freedom of Americans — by giving them all the freedom they want, as… See all 56 free speech feature articles. Police: People: Bush: Speech: President: Free: The internet: Internet: Government: Information: Society: World: Media: California: Victory: Financial: Most Popular Stories TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing 10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns Warning: Enrolling in Obamacare allows government to link your IP address with your name, social security number, bank accounts and web surfing habits High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists New USDA rule allows hidden feces, pus, bacteria and bleach in conventional poultry Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders 10 outrageous (but true) facts about vaccines the CDC and the vaccine industry don’t want you to know EBT card food stamp recipients ransack Wal-Mart stores, stealing carts full of food during federal computer glitch Cannabis kicks Lyme disease to the curb is a free video website featuring thousands of videos on holistic health, nutrition, fitness, recipes, natural remedies and much more.

CounterThink Cartoons are free to view and download. They cover topics like health, environment and freedom.

The Consumer Wellness Center is a non-profit organization offering nutrition education grants to programs that help children and expectant mothers around the world.

Food Investigations is a series of mini-documentaries exposing the truth about dangerous ingredients in the food supply. offers alternative health programs, documentaries and more.

The Honest Food Guide is a free, downloadable public health and nutrition chart that dares to tell the truth about what foods we should really be eating. offers a free online reference database of healing foods, phytonutrients and plant-based medicines that prevent or treat diseases and health conditions. is a free, online reference library that lists medicinal herbs and their health benefits. is a free online reference database of phytonutrients (natural medicines found in foods) and their health benefits. Lists diseases, foods, herbs and more.

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First Amendment – constitution |

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Oct 282015

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is contained in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment has proven to be one of the most fundamental and important in respects to the rights attributed to the populace of the United States. Originally, the First Amendment was implemented and applied solely to Congress. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, it was upheld that the First Amendment is to apply to all forms of government, including state and local levels. The Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause would apply to the 1st Amendment, and thus rendering such a decision.

As stated in the United States Constitution, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, of of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Though a relatively short and concise assertion, the text provides for quite an encompassing set of rights that protect the citizens of the United States, and some of the most important and basic human rights. The First Amendment has many clauses that relate to each of the concepts that it sets out to protect. Religion is discussed in two clauses, one regarding the establishment of religion, and the other the free exercise of religion.

This proves to be one of the most important rights to secure by the Fathers of the Constitution, for so many people of European descent immigrated to the American Colonies to avoid religious persecution, and to find a safe haven to practice their religion of choice without any dire consequences. The First Amendment prohibits the government to establish a formal or national religion for the nation. It also addresses that there will be no preference of any particular religion, including the practice of no religion, or non religion.

The 1st Amendment guarantees the people of the United States the free exercise of religion, without interference from governmental factions. This right would also extend to any organization or individual infringing on such right, and would be deemed as unconstitutional.

One of the most commonly referred to clauses under the 1st Amendment is the freedom of speech. This clause has proven to be of great importance, particularly in the twentieth century and continues on with such regard in our lifetime. Under the text of the First Amendment, many issues are addressed regarding Freedom of Speech, and restrictions to exist in which such a practice may prove to be harmful to the general population or public. An example is the concept of sedition, and how this conduct can lead to insurrection against the government.

Other concepts also addressed include commercial speech, political speech, obscenity, libel, slander, and symbolic speech, such as the desecration of the American Flag. Under the First Amendment, there have been important and key court cases that have established a form precedence in how to apply the Amendment to these kinds of circumstances. The Freedom of the press is also included, and subject to similar restrictions as the freedom of speech.

The rights to petition and assembly often seem to be overlooked, for freedom of religion and speech are most commonly associated with the 1st Amendment. The right to petition is important because it gives citizens the opportunity to address their government in issues that have relevance and importance to the commonwealth. The formulation of an assembly, under the First Amendment, can be interpreted as citizens gathering and unifying for the purpose of communicating views or opinions on national issues, and for the relaying of pertinent information. The right to assembly is often related to that of petition, in such a way where citizens may assemble in the process of petitioning the government.


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First Amendment – constitution |

First Amendment Center | Newseum Institute

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Oct 282015

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center, with offices at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and at the John Seigenthaler Center, on the Vanderbilt University campus, in Nashville, Tenn., serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues through education, information and entertainment.

Founded by John Seigenthaler on Dec. 15, 1991, the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, the Center provides education and information to the public and groups, including First Amendment scholars and experts, educators, government policy makers, legal experts and students. The Center is nonpartisan and does not lobby, litigate or provide legal advice. It has become one of the most authoritative sources of news, information and commentary in the nation on First Amendment-related developments, as well as detailed reports about U.S. Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment, and commentary, analysis and special reports on free expression, press freedom and religious-liberty issues.

For older articles and commentary, please visit the First Amendment Centers archival site.

Find First Amendment research articles by topic or keyword.


Download or order publications on First Amendment issues.


Learn more about the five freedoms of the First Amendment.


One third of Americans still think the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to the 2014 State of the First Amendment survey released June 24 by the Newseum Institute.


Learn more about the First Amendment Center and what we do.


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the cornerstone of American democracy is the focus of the Seigenthaler-Sutherland Cup National First Amendment Moot Court Competition.


John Seigenthaler founded the Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values.


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Annotation 6 – First Amendment – FindLaw

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Oct 282015


Adoption and the Common Law Background

Madison’s version of the speech and press clauses, introduced in the House of Representatives on June 8, 1789, provided: ”The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”1 The special committee rewrote the language to some extent, adding other provisions from Madison’s draft, to make it read: ”The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the Government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.”2 In this form it went to the Senate, which rewrote it to read: ”That Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and consult for their common good, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”3 Subsequently, the religion clauses and these clauses were combined by the Senate.4 The final language was agreed upon in conference.

Debate in the House is unenlightening with regard to the meaning the Members ascribed to the speech and press clause and there is no record of debate in the Senate.5 In the course of debate, Madison warned against the dangers which would arise ”from discussing and proposing abstract propositions, of which the judgment may not be convinced. I venture to say, that if we confine ourselves to an enumeration of simple, acknowledged principles, the ratification will meet with but little difficulty.”6 That the ”simple, acknowledged principles” embodied in the First Amendment have occasioned controversy without end both in the courts and out should alert one to the difficulties latent in such spare language. Insofar as there is likely to have been a consensus, it was no doubt the common law view as expressed by Blackstone. ”The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government. But to punish as the law does at present any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall on a fair and impartial trial be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of individuals is still left free: the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left; the disseminating, or making public, of bad sentiments, destructive to the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects.”7

Whatever the general unanimity on this proposition at the time of the proposal of and ratification of the First Amendment,8 it appears that there emerged in the course of the Jeffersonian counterattack on the Sedition Act9 and the use by the Adams Administration of the Act to prosecute its political opponents,10 something of a libertarian theory of freedom of speech and press,11 which, however much the Jeffersonians may have departed from it upon assuming power,12 was to blossom into the theory undergirding Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence in modern times. Full acceptance of the theory that the Amendment operates not only to bar most prior restraints of expression but subsequent punishment of all but a narrow range of expression, in political discourse and indeed in all fields of expression, dates from a quite recent period, although the Court’s movement toward that position began in its consideration of limitations on speech and press in the period following World War I.13 Thus, in 1907, Justice Holmes could observe that even if the Fourteenth Amendment embodied prohibitions similar to the First Amendment, ”still we should be far from the conclusion that the plaintiff in error would have us reach. In the first place, the main purpose of such constitutional provisions is ‘to prevent all such previous restraints upon publications as had been practiced by other governments,’ and they do not prevent the subsequent punishment of such as may be deemed contrary to the public welfare . . . . The preliminary freedom extends as well to the false as to the true; the subsequent punishment may extend as well to the true as to the false. This was the law of criminal libel apart from statute in most cases, if not in all.”14 But as Justice Holmes also observed, ”[t]here is no constitutional right to have all general propositions of law once adopted remain unchanged.”15

But in Schenck v. United States,16 the first of the post-World War I cases to reach the Court, Justice Holmes, in the opinion of the Court, while upholding convictions for violating the Espionage Act by attempting to cause insubordination in the military service by circulation of leaflets, suggested First Amendment restraints on subsequent punishment as well as prior restraint. ”It well may be that the prohibition of laws abridging the freedom of speech is not confined to previous restraints although to prevent them may have been the main purpose . . . . We admit that in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights. But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. . . . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Justice Holmes along with Justice Brandeis soon went into dissent in their views that the majority of the Court was misapplying the legal standards thus expressed to uphold suppression of speech which offered no threat of danger to organized institutions.17 But it was with the Court’s assumption that the Fourteenth Amendment restrained the power of the States to suppress speech and press that the doctrines developed.18 At first, Holmes and Brandeis remained in dissent, but in Fiske v. Kansas,19 the Court sustained a First Amendment type of claim in a state case, and in Stromberg v. California,20 a state law was voided on grounds of its interference with free speech.21 State common law was also voided, the Court in an opinion by Justice Black asserting that the First Amendment enlarged protections for speech, press, and religion beyond those enjoyed under English common law.22 Development over the years since has been uneven, but by 1964 the Court could say with unanimity: ”we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”23 And in 1969, it was said that the cases ”have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”24 This development and its myriad applications are elaborated in the following sections. The First Amendment by its terms applies only to laws enacted by Congress, and not to the actions of private persons. Supp.15 This leads to a ”state action” (or ”governmental action”) limitation similar to that applicable to the Fourteenth Amendment. Supp.16 The limitation has seldom been litigated in the First Amendment context, but there is no obvious reason why analysis should differ markedly from Fourteenth Amendment state action analysis. Both contexts require ”cautious analysis of the quality and degree of Government relationship to the particular acts in question.” Supp.17 In holding that the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) is a governmental entity for purposes of the First Amendment, the Court declared that ”[t]he Constitution constrains governmental action ‘by whatever instruments or in whatever modes that action may be taken.’. . . [a]nd under whatever congressional label.”Supp.18 The relationship of the government to broadcast licensees affords other opportunities to explore the breadth of ”governmental action.”Supp.19


[Footnote 1] 1 Annals of Congress 434 (1789). Madison had also proposed language limiting the power of the States in a number of respects, including a guarantee of freedom of the press, Id. at 435. Although passed by the House, the amendment was defeated by the Senate, supra, p.957.

[Footnote 2] Id. at 731 (August 15, 1789).

[Footnote 3] The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History 1148-49 (B. Schwartz ed. 1971).

[Footnote 4] Id. at 1153.

[Footnote 5] The House debate insofar as it touched upon this amendment was concerned almost exclusively with a motion to strike the right to assemble and an amendment to add a right of the people to instruct their Representatives. 1 Annals of Congress 731-49 (August 15, 1789). There are no records of debates in the States on ratification.

[Footnote 6] Id. at 738.

[Footnote 7] 4 W. Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England 151-52 (T. Cooley 2d rev. ed. 1872). See 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1874-86 (Boston: 1833). The most comprehensive effort to assess theory and practice in the period prior to and immediately following adoption of the Amendment is L. Levy, Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History (1960), which generally concluded that the Blackstonian view was the prevailing one at the time and probably the understanding of those who drafted, voted for, and ratified the Amendment.

[Footnote 8] It would appear that Madison advanced libertarian views earlier than his Jeffersonian compatriots, as witness his leadership of a move to refuse officially to concur in Washington’s condemnation of ”[c]ertain self-created societies,” by which the President meant political clubs supporting the French Revolution, and his success in deflecting the Federalist intention to censure such societies. I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800, 416-20 (1950). ”If we advert to the nature of republican government,” Madison told the House, ”we shall find that the censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people.” 4 Annals of Congress 934 (1794). On the other hand, the early Madison, while a member of his county’s committee on public safety, had enthusiastically promoted prosecution of Loyalist speakers and the burning of their pamphlets during the Revolutionary period. 1 Papers of James Madison 147, 161-62, 190-92 (W. Hutchinson & W. Rachal eds. 1962). There seems little doubt that Jefferson held to the Blackstonian view. Writing to Madison in 1788, he said: ”A declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing anything they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed.” 13 Papers of Thomas Jefferson 442 (J. Boyd ed. 1955). Commenting a year later to Madison on his proposed amendment, Jefferson suggested that the free speech-free press clause might read something like: ”The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write or otherwise to publish anything but false facts affecting injuriously the life, liberty, property, or reputation of others or affecting the peace of the confederacy with foreign nations.” 15 Papers, supra, at 367.

[Footnote 9] The Act, Ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596 (1798), punished anyone who would ”write, print, utter or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute.” See J. Smith, Freedom’s Fetters–The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties (1956).

[Footnote 10] Id. at 159 et seq.

[Footnote 11] L. Levy, Legacy of Suppression: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early American History, ch. 6 (Cambridge, 1960); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 273-76 (1964). But compare L. Levy, Emergence of a Free Press (1985), a revised and enlarged edition of Legacy of Suppression, in which Professor Levy modifies his earlier views, arguing that while the intention of the Framers to outlaw the crime of seditious libel, in pursuit of a free speech principle, cannot be established and may not have been the goal, there was a tradition of robust and rowdy expression during the period of the framing that contradicts his prior view that a modern theory of free expression did not begin to emerge until the debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts.

[Footnote 12] L. Levy, Jefferson and Civil Liberties–The Darker Side (Cambridge, 1963). Thus President Jefferson wrote to Governor McKean of Pennsylvania in 1803: ”The federalists having failed in destroying freedom of the press by their gag-law, seem to have attacked it in an opposite direction; that is, by pushing its licentiousness and its lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. . . . This is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to its credibility if possible. The restraints provided by the laws of the States are sufficient for this if applied. And I have, therefore, long thought that a few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect in restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a general prosecution, for that would look like persecution; but a selected one.” 9 Works of Thomas Jefferson 449 (P. Ford, ed. 1905).

[Footnote 13] New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), provides the principal doctrinal justification for the development, although the results had long since been fully applied by the Court. In Sullivan, Justice Brennan discerned in the controversies over the Sedition Act a crystallization of ”a national awareness of the central meaning of the First Amendment,” id. at 273, which is that the ”right of free public discussion of the stewardship of public officials . . . [is] a fundamental principle of the American form of government.” Id. at 275. This ”central meaning” proscribes either civil or criminal punishment for any but the most maliciously, knowingly false criticism of government. ”Although the Sedition Act was never tested in this Court, the attack upon its validity has carried the day in the court of history. . . . [The historical record] reflect[s] a broad consensus that the Act, because of the restraint it imposed upon criticism of government and public officials, was inconsistent with the First Amendment.” Id. at 276. Madison’s Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and his Report in support of them brought together and expressed the theories being developed by the Jeffersonians and represent a solid doctrinal foundation for the point of view that the First Amendment superseded the common law on speech and press, that a free, popular government cannot be libeled, and that the First Amendment absolutely protects speech and press. 6 Writings of James Madison, 341-406 (G. Hunt. ed. 1908).

[Footnote 14] Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454, 462 (1907) (emphasis original). Justice Frankfurter had similar views in 1951: ”The historic antecedents of the First Amendment preclude the notion that its purpose was to give unqualified immunity to every expression that touched on matters within the range of political interest. . . . ‘The law is perfectly well settled,’ this Court said over fifty years ago, ‘that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were not intended to lay down any novel principles of government, but simply to embody certain guaranties and immunities which we had inherited from our English ancestors, and which had from time immemorial been subject to certain well-recognized exceptions arising from the necessities of the case. In incorporating these principles into the fundamental law there was no intention of disregarding the exceptions, which continued to be recognized as if they had been formally expressed.’ That this represents the authentic view of the Bill of Rights and the spirit in which it must be construed has been recognized again and again in cases that have come here within the last fifty years.” Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 521-522, 524 (1951) (concurring opinion). The internal quotation is from Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275, 281 (1897).

[Footnote 15] Patterson v. Colorado, 205 U.S. 454, 461 (1907).

[Footnote 16] 249 U.S. 47, 51-52 (1919) (citations omitted).

[Footnote 17] Debs v. United States, 249 U.S. 211 (1919); Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919); Schaefer v. United States, 251 U.S. 466 (1920); Pierce v. United States, 252 U.S. 239 (1920); United States ex rel. Milwaukee Social Democratic Pub. Co. v. Burleson, 255 U.S. 407 (1921). A state statute similar to the federal one was upheld in Gilbert v. Minnesota, 254 U.S. 325 (1920).

[Footnote 18] Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925); Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927). The Brandeis and Holmes dissents in both cases were important formulations of speech and press principles.

[Footnote 19] 274 U.S. 380 (1927).

[Footnote 20] 283 U.S. 359 (1931). By contrast, it was not until 1965 that a federal statute was held unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301 (1965). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967).

[Footnote 21] And see Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697 (1931); Herndon v. Lowry, 301 U.S. 242 (1937); De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353 (1937); Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938).

[Footnote 22] Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 263-68 (1941) (overturning contempt convictions of newspaper editor and others for publishing commentary on pending cases).

[Footnote 23] New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964).

[Footnote 24] Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969).

[Footnote 15 (1996 Supplement)] Through interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the prohibition extends to the States as well. See discussion on incorporation, main text, pp. 957-64.

[Footnote 16 (1996 Supplement)] See discussion on state action, main text, pp.1786-1802.

[Footnote 17 (1996 Supplement)] CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 115 (1973) (opinion of Chief Justice Burger).

[Footnote 18 (1996 Supplement)] Lebron v. National R.R. Passenger Corp., 115 S. Ct. 961, 971 (1995) (quoting Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 346-47 (1880)). The Court refused to be bound by the statement in Amtrak’s authorizing statute that the corporation is ”not . . . an agency or establishment of the United States Government.” This assertion can be effective ”only for purposes of matters that are within Congress’ control,” the Court explained. ”It is not for Congress to make the final determination of Amtrak’s status as a governmental entity for purposes of determining the constitutional rights of citizens affected by its actions.” 115 S. Ct. at 971.

[Footnote 19 (1996 Supplement)] In CBS v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94 (1973), the Court held that a broadcast licensee could refuse to carry a paid editorial advertisement. Chief Justice Burger, joined only by Justices Stewart and Rehnquist in that portion of his opinion, reasoned that a licensee’s refusal to accept such an ad did not constitute ”governmental action” for purposes of the First Amendment. ”The First Amendment does not reach acts of private parties in every instance where the Congress or the [Federal Communications] Commission has merely permitted or failed to prohibit such acts.” Id. at 119.

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Annotation 6 – First Amendment – FindLaw

Free Speech – Shmoop

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Oct 262015

In a Nutshell

The courts have been largely responsible for protecting and extending this right of speech. Over the past two centuries they have explored the protection owed all sorts of expression, including sedition, “fighting words,” “dangerous” speech, and obscenity, and all sorts of persons, including political radicals, Ku Klux Klansmen, and even students. But in doing so, the courts have also operated under the premise that a portion of the British legacy was correct: the right to speech is not absolute. As a result, the legal history of the First Amendment could be summarized as a balancing actan attempt to protect and extend free speech guarantees but also define the limits of this right in a manner consistent with the equally compelling rights of the community.

Freedom of speech would be easy if words did not have power. Guaranteeing people the right to say and print whatever they wanted would be easy if we believed that words had no real effect.

But Americans tend to believe that words do have powerthat they can anger and inspire, cause people to rise up and act out. Americans celebrate speakers like James Otis, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words inspired people to fight for independence, advance the American experiment in republican government, and dream of a more just society.

Freedom of speech would be easy if all people could be trusted to be rational discerners of truthif everyone could be trusted to sort out good ideas from bad ideas and recognize the ideologies and policies that were truly aimed at the best interests of the community.

But history has proven that people do not always recognize and reject bad ideas. The past is filled with examples of peoples and nations swayed by destructive ideas.

Freedom of speech would be easy if we just said that the right was absolute, that there were no limitations on what a person could say or print and no legal consequences for any expression no matter how false, slanderous, libelous, or obscene.

But as a nation, we have always held that there are limits to the right of speech, that certain forms of expression are not protected by the First Amendment.

The bottom line: freedom of speech is not easy. Words are powerful, which means that they can be dangerous. Humans are fallible, which means that they can make bad choices. And the right of speech is not absolute, which means that the boundaries of protected speech have to be constantly assessed.

All of these facts complicate America’s commitment to free speech, but they also make this commitment courageous. In addition, they leave the legal system with a difficult challenge. On the one hand, the courts are entrusted with protecting this right to free expression, which is so central to our national experience. On the other hand, they are charged with identifying the often blurry edges of this freedom.

Read on, and see if the courts have appropriately met both of these responsibilities.

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Free Speech – Shmoop

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Censorship and Free Speech | Amnesty International USA

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Censorship and Free Speech | Amnesty International USA
Oct 262015

“Free speech” isn’t so free when it costs you your liberty. In countries around the world, the right to express one’s thoughts and beliefs is under assault.

Throughout the world individuals face harassment and imprisonment as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without fear or interference.

This right is important for the personal development and dignity of every individual and is vital for the fulfillment of other human rights.

Freedom of expression has always been a core part of Amnesty International’s work and is closely linked to the right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Amnesty International has campaigned on behalf of thousands of prisoners of conscience people who are imprisoned because of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status.

Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience

Human rights defenders are individuals, groups of people or organizations who promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means. Their actions depend on, and fuel, freedom of expression.

Because of their activities, human rights defenders can become a target of abuse. Governments, security forces, business interests, armed groups, religious leaders and sometimes even their own families and communities can try and silence their dissenting opinions or actions.

The internet has opened up new possibilities for individuals and groups to seek and impart information and ideas. Yet, the internet is also a new frontier where freedom of expression is being challenged.

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Censorship and Free Speech | Amnesty International USA

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LIBERTARIANISM 101 – The Advocates for Self-Government

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Oct 232015

Your Way to Freedom, Abundance, Peace, and Justice

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians strive for the best of all worlds a free, peaceful, abundant world where each individual has the maximum opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and to realize his full potential.

The core idea is simply stated, but profound and far-reaching in its implications. Libertarians believe that each person owns his or her own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same.

Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you dont harm the person or property of others.

Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense) and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others).

Libertarians believe that this combination of personal and economic liberty produces abundance, peace, harmony, creativity, order and safety. Indeed, that is one of the central lessons of world history. Virtually all the progress the human race has enjoyed during the past few centuries is due to the increasing acceptance of these principles. But we are still far from a truly libertarian world. Libertarians believe we would see far more progress, abundance and happiness if the ideas of liberty were fully accepted and allowed to work their miracles.

Our goal as libertarians is to bring liberty to the world, so that these humane and proven ideas can be put into action. This will make our world a far better place for all people.

If this interests you, please explore the material at this site. Evaluate these ideas. Kick their tires and take them for an intellectual test drive.

We hope you will join us in embracing this ideal and in taking a stand to personally help bring about a world of liberty, abundance and peace.

Theres more than just left or right.

Libertarians offer you a better choice than just left or right. The libertarian way gives you more choices, in politics, in business, your personal life. Libertarians advocate both personal and economic liberty. Todays liberals like personal liberty but want government to control your economic affairs. Conservatives reverse that, advocating more economic freedom but wanting to clamp down on your private life.

Libertarian positions on the issues are neither left nor right, nor a combination of the two. Libertarians believe that, on every issue, you have the right to decide for yourself whats best for you and to act on that belief as long as you respect the right of other people to do the same and deal with them peacefully and honestly.

In a sense, true conservatives tend to be libertarian on most economic issues, and true liberals tend to be libertarian on most social issues. Libertarians call for freedom across the board, on both economics and social issues, coupled with a foreign policy of peace as described by Thomas Jefferson:Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.

Libertarianism offers the opportunity to go beyond the stale left versus right debate and embrace liberty on every issue.

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LIBERTARIANISM 101 – The Advocates for Self-Government

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Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment – National Constitution Center
Oct 122015

The Second Amendment

Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was not even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.

The onset of war does not always allow time to raise and train an army, and the Revolutionary War showed that militia forces could not be relied on for national defense. The Constitutional Convention therefore decided that the federal government should have almost unfettered authority to establish peacetime standing armies and to regulate the militia.

This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would take from the states their principal means of defense against federal usurpation. The Federalists responded that fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the American people were armed and would be almost impossible to subdue through military force.

Implicit in the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions. First, that the proposed new Constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and militia. Second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry. They disagreed only about whether an armed populace could adequately deter federal oppression.

The Second Amendment conceded nothing to the Anti-Federalists desire to sharply curtail the military power of the federal government, which would have required substantial changes in the original Constitution. Yet the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Much has changed since 1791. The traditional militia fell into desuetude, and state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. The nations military establishment has become enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nations armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals (as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation).

The law has also changed. While states in the Founding era regulated gunsblacks were often prohibited from possessing firearms and militia weapons were frequently registered on government rollsgun laws today are more extensive and controversial. Another important legal development was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank (1876).

Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nations capital. A 54 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia.

The dissenters disagreed. They concluded that the Second Amendment protects a nominally individual right, though one that protects only the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. They also argued that even if the Second Amendment did protect an individual right to have arms for self-defense, it should be interpreted to allow the government to ban handguns in high-crime urban areas.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court struck down a similar handgun ban at the state level, again by a 54 vote. Four Justices relied on judicial precedents under the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause. Justice Thomas rejected those precedents in favor of reliance on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, but all five members of the majority concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state infringement the same individual right that is protected from federal infringement by the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the lengthy opinions in Heller and McDonald, they technically ruled only that government may not ban the possession of handguns by civilians in their homes. Heller tentatively suggested a list of presumptively lawful regulations, including bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, laws restricting the commercial sale of arms, bans on the concealed carry of firearms, and bans on weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Many issues remain open, and the lower courts have disagreed with one another about some of them, including important questions involving restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process.

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process. Neither right, however, is absolute. The First Amendment, for example, has never protected perjury, fraud, or countless other crimes that are committed through the use of speech. Similarly, no reasonable person could believe that violent criminals should have unrestricted access to guns, or that any individual should possess a nuclear weapon.

Inevitably, courts must draw lines, allowing government to carry out its duty to preserve an orderly society, without unduly infringing the legitimate interests of individuals in expressing their thoughts and protecting themselves from criminal violence. This is not a precise science or one that will ever be free from controversy.

One judicial approach, however, should be unequivocally rejected. During the nineteenth century, courts routinely refused to invalidate restrictions on free speech that struck the judges as reasonable. This meant that speech got virtually no judicial protection. Government suppression of speech can usually be thought to serve some reasonable purpose, such as reducing social discord or promoting healthy morals. Similarly, most gun control laws can be viewed as efforts to save lives and prevent crime, which are perfectly reasonable goals. If thats enough to justify infringements on individual liberty, neither constitutional guarantee means much of anything.

During the twentieth century, the Supreme Court finally started taking the First Amendment seriously. Today, individual freedom is generally protected unless the government can make a strong case that it has a real need to suppress speech or expressive conduct, and that its regulations are tailored to that need. The legal doctrines have become quite complex, and there is room for disagreement about many of the Courts specific decisions. Taken as a whole, however, this body of case law shows what the Court can do when it appreciates the value of an individual right enshrined in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment also raises issues about which reasonable people can disagree. But if the Supreme Court takes this provision of the Constitution as seriously as it now takes the First Amendment, which it should do, there will be some easy issues as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) is one example. The right of the people protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like the right[s] of the people protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution does not say that the Second Amendment protects a right of the states or a right of the militia, and nobody offered such an interpretation during the Founding era. Abundant historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to leave citizens with the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. Such threats might come from usurpers of governmental power, but they might also come from criminals whom the government is unwilling or unable to control.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) was also an easy case under the Courts precedents. Most other provisions of the Bill of Rights had already been applied to the states because they are deeply rooted in this Nations history and tradition. The right to keep and bear arms clearly meets this test.

The text of the Constitution expressly guarantees the right to bear arms, not just the right to keep them. The courts should invalidate regulations that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public, where the vast majority of violent crimes occur. First Amendment rights are not confined to the home, and neither are those protected by the Second Amendment.

Nor should the government be allowed to create burdensome bureaucratic obstacles designed to frustrate the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The courts are vigilant in preventing government from evading the First Amendment through regulations that indirectly abridge free speech rights by making them difficult to exercise. Courts should exercise the same vigilance in protecting Second Amendment rights.

Some other regulations that may appear innocuous should be struck down because they are little more than political stunts. Popular bans on so-called assault rifles, for example, define this class of guns in terms of cosmetic features, leaving functionally identical semi-automatic rifles to circulate freely. This is unconstitutional for the same reason that it would violate the First Amendment to ban words that have a French etymology, or to require that French fries be called freedom fries.

In most American states, including many with large urban population centers, responsible adults have easy access to ordinary firearms, and they are permitted to carry them in public. Experience has shown that these policies do not lead to increased levels of violence. Criminals pay no more attention to gun control regulations than they do to laws against murder, rape, and robbery. Armed citizens, however, prevent countless crimes and have saved many lives. Whats more, the most vulnerable peopleincluding women, the elderly, and those who live in high crime neighborhoodsare among the greatest beneficiaries of the Second Amendment. If the courts require the remaining jurisdictions to stop infringing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, their citizens will be more free and probably safer as well.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the militia of the founding era was the body of ordinary citizens capable of taking up arms to defend the nation. While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners.

Although Americans today often think that gun control is a modern invention, the Founding era had laws regulating the armed citizenry. There were laws designed to ensure an effective militia, such as laws requiring armed citizens to appear at mandatory musters where their guns would be inspected. Governments also compiled registries of civilian-owned guns appropriate for militia service, sometimes conducting door-to-door surveys. The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. The Founders even had laws requiring people to have guns appropriate for militia service.

The wide range of Founding-era laws suggests that the Founders understood gun rights quite differently from many people today. The right to keep and bear arms was not a libertarian license for anyone to have any kind of ordinary firearm, anywhere they wanted. Nor did the Second Amendment protect a right to revolt against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was about ensuring public safety, and nothing in its language was thought to prevent what would be seen today as quite burdensome forms of regulation.

The Founding-era laws indicate why the First Amendment is not a good analogy to the Second. While there have always been laws restricting perjury and fraud by the spoken word, such speech was not thought to be part of the freedom of speech. The Second Amendment, by contrast, unambiguously recognizes that the armed citizenry must be regulatedand regulated well. This language most closely aligns with the Fourth Amendment, which protects a right to privacy but also recognizes the authority of the government to conduct reasonable searches and seizures.

The principle that reasonable regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment has been affirmed throughout American history. Ever since the first cases challenging gun controls for violating the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions, courts have repeatedly held that reasonable gun lawsthose that dont completely deny access to guns by law-abiding peopleare constitutionally permissible. For 150 years, this was the settled law of the landuntil Heller.

Heller, however, rejected the principle of reasonableness only in name, not in practice. The decision insisted that many types of gun control laws are presumptively lawful, including bans on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on concealed carry, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and commercial sale restrictions. Nearly all gun control laws today fit within these exceptions. Importantly, these exceptions for modern-day gun laws unheard of in the Founding era also show that lawmakers are not limited to the types of gun control in place at the time of the Second Amendments ratification.

In the years since Heller, the federal courts have upheld the overwhelming majority of gun control laws challenged under the Second Amendment. Bans on assault weapons have been consistently upheld, as have restrictions on gun magazines that hold more than a minimum number of rounds of ammunition. Bans on guns in national parks, post offices, bars, and college campuses also survived. These decisions make clear that lawmakers have wide leeway to restrict guns to promote public safety so long as the basic right of law-abiding people to have a gun for self-defense is preserved.

Perhaps the biggest open question after Heller is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public. While every state allows public carry, some states restrict that right to people who can show a special reason to have a gun on the street. To the extent these laws give local law enforcement unfettered discretion over who can carry, they are problematic. At the same time, however, many constitutional rights are far more limited in public than in the home. Parades can be required to have a permit, the police have broader powers to search pedestrians and motorists than private homes, and sexual intimacy in public places can be completely prohibited.

The Supreme Court may yet decide that more stringent limits on gun control are required under the Second Amendment. Such a decision, however, would be contrary to the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

More here:
Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Bergen County NJ for Liberty (Hackensack, NJ) – Meetup

 Liberty  Comments Off on Bergen County NJ for Liberty (Hackensack, NJ) – Meetup
Oct 072015

Please note: we are no longer associated with Campaign for Liberty.

We are a grassroots group of local individuals who share a common bond, freedom and liberty!We strive to root ourselves in the principles of truth, freedom, and prosperity. The diversity among our members ranges from age, ethnic background, beliefs/religions, as well as political views (or lack thereof). The expression of sovereignty and self-ownership that radiates from our members is what makes our group unique.

Our group comprises many creative and productive members of society, including philosophers, engineers, activists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, educators, doctors, explorers, and other concerned members of the community. We aim to improve ourselves as individuals, and in turn, the world in which we live.

Since its inception, our group has been rooted in truth and freedom. We strongly support the principles of truth, individual liberty, personal success, self defense, non-aggression, and true free trade.

We have recognized a moral imperative to imbue the true meaning of individual sovereignty in the hearts and minds of others, to exercise our natural and inherent rights to freedom of expression, and to address issues commonly ignored. Our interests vary as individuals, but as a group we work to address some of, but not limited to, the following:

– INDIVIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY – financial & economic freedom – private barter systems – personal growth / self-improvement – natural living practices / healthy food – alternative energy technologies – consciousness / enlightenment

As a group wemaintain an equal level of respect for one another’s values and opinions, and we encourage participation by not having an online forum or message board on the site.

Therefore, if you want to share with the group, you have to come out to events and participate! We try to keep emails to the group at a minimum, we don’t want to intrude or flood your inbox, so you’ll know when you receive an email from us it will be an important one, regarding new meetups, updates, reminders, etc.

Sign up, keep checking the calendar, feel free to attend every event, or only the ones that capture your interest. The hardcore 24/7’ers are just as welcome as the weekend warriors. Join us, we look forward to meeting you!


New Jersey Federal Representatives:

House: Find your Rep by Zip

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New Jersey Sate Assembly and Senate:

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Bergen County Representatives:




County Clerk:


Corporate Members of the Council on Foreign Relations


Recommended Videos:

The American Dream(re: Federal Reserve / Economy – animated 29 mins)

America: Freedom to Fascism(112 mins)

Fabled Enemies(Re: War on Terror, 102 mins)

Fiat Empire(Re: Federal Reserve System, 59 mins)

Overview of America(30 mins)

Philosophy of Liberty(8 mins)

The War Machine by Joe Rogan(9 mins)

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Bergen County NJ for Liberty (Hackensack, NJ) – Meetup

Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Freedom  Comments Off on Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oct 052015

“Freedoms” redirects here. For other uses, see Freedom.

Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept in history and political thought and one of the most important (real or ideal) features of democratic societies.[1] It has been described as a relationship free of oppression[2] or coercion;[3] the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions;[4] or the absence of life conditions of compulsion, e.g. economic compulsion, in a society.[5] Although political freedom is often interpreted negatively as the freedom from unreasonable external constraints on action,[6] it can also refer to the positive exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action, and the exercise of social or group rights.[7] The concept can also include freedom from “internal” constraints on political action or speech (e.g. social conformity, consistency, or “inauthentic” behaviour.)[8] The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state.

Various groups along the political spectrum naturally differ on what they believe constitutes “true” political freedom.

Left wing political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of positive liberty, or the enabling of a group or individual to determine their own life or realize their own potential. Freedom, in this sense, may include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease, and oppression, as well as freedom from force and coercion, from whomever they may issue.

Friedrich Hayek, a well-known classical liberal, criticized this as a misconception of freedom:

[T]he use of “liberty” to describe the physical “ability to do what I want”, the power to satisfy our wishes, or the extent of the choice of alternatives open to us… has been deliberately fostered as part of the socialist argument… the notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that of individual liberty.[9]

Anarcho-socialists see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. Such a view of rights may require utilitarian trade-offs, such as sacrificing the right to the product of one’s labor or freedom of association for less racial discrimination or more subsidies for housing. Social anarchists describe the negative liberty-centric view endorsed by capitalism as “selfish freedom”.[10]

Anarcho-capitalists see negative rights as a consistent system. Ayn Rand described it as “a moral principle defining and sanctioning a mans freedom of action in a social context. To such libertarians, positive liberty is contradictory, since so-called rights must be traded off against each other, debasing legitimate rights which, by definition, trump other moral considerations. Any alleged “right” which calls for an end result (e.g. housing, education, medical services) produced by people is, in effect, a purported “right” to enslave others.

Some notable philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have theorized freedom in terms of our social interdependence with other people.[11]

According to political philosopher Nikolas Kompridis, the pursuit of freedom in the modern era can be broadly divided into two motivating ideals: freedom as autonomy or independence; and freedom as the ability to cooperatively initiate a new beginning.[12]

Political freedom has also been theorized in its opposition to (and a condition of) “power relations”, or the power of “action upon actions,” by Michel Foucault.[13] It has also been closely identified with certain kinds of artistic and cultural practice by Cornelius Castoriadis, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Ranciere, and Theodor Adorno.

Environmentalists often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of ecosystems. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as “freedom to pollute” or “freedom to deforest” given that such activities create negative externalities. The popularity of SUVs, golf, and urban sprawl has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and ecological conservation can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of values reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of PETA regarding fur.

John Dalberg-Acton stated that “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”[14]

Hannah Arendt traces the origins of the concept of freedom to the practice of politics in ancient Greece. According to her study, the concept of freedom was historically inseparable from political action. Politics could only be practiced by those who had freed themselves from the necessities of life, so that they could attend to the realm of political affairs. According to Arendt, the concept of freedom became associated with the Christian notion of freedom of the will, or inner freedom, around the 5th century C.E. and since then, freedom as a form of political action has been neglected, even though, as she says, freedom is “the raison d’tre of politics.”[15]

Arendt says that political freedom is historically opposed to sovereignty or will-power, since in ancient Greece and Rome, the concept of freedom was inseparable from performance, and did not arise as a conflict between the “will” and the “self.” Similarly, the idea of freedom as freedom from politics is a notion that developed in modern times. This is opposed to the idea of freedom as the capacity to “begin anew,” which Arendt sees as a corollary to the innate human condition of natality, or our nature as “new beginnings and hence beginners.”

In Arendt’s view, political action is an interruption of automatic process, either natural or historical. The freedom to begin anew is thus an extension of “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known.”

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Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

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Sep 232015

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Yeah. Its for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that theyve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they cant count on weeping eagles and the stars n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your socially liberal buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyones happy!

Just look at how they play it up as the cool alternative to traditional conservatism. Its pathetic. George Will wore the bowtie. But Reason magazines Nick Gillespie wears an ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirt. And dont forget the rest of his all-black wardrobe, complete with leather jacket. What a totally with-it badass.


With such a bleak economic forecast for the Millennials, it shouldnt surprise anyone that our elites want to make libertarianism shorthand for political disaffection. Now theres a demographic with some growth potential. And its inspired a lot of poorly-sourced, speculative babble about how the kids have all gone Galt, almost always through the personal anecdotes of young white men.

A couple of months ago, after Harvard released a poll on the political views of Millennials, libertarians took to the internet to tell the world how the youth of America was little more than a giant anarcho-capitalist sleeper cellready to overthrow the state and privatize the air supply at a moments notice. So I took a look at the poll numbers. And you know what? Its utter horseshit.

Right off the bat, were told that 79% of Millennials dont consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind.

Much is made of the fact that less than half of the survey respondents thought the government should provide free health care to those who cant afford it. What they dont mention is that that number (44 percent) is twice the percentage who say they stand against (22 percent) such hand outs. Nearly a third didnt think one way or the other.

Then we hear that the poll proves kids dont care about climate change. But they dont mention that slightly more Millennials wanted the government to do more on that front than theyre doing noweven if it hurt economic growth. Nearly half, you guessed it, neither agree nor disagree. (Come on kids, Rock the Vote!)

More Millennials identify as liberals than conservatives. Hardly any of them (10 percent) support the libertarian-embraced Tea Party. About three-quarters say they despise congressional Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds voted for Obama in 2008. Slightly over half approve of him now. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials hate congressional Republicans. 55% trust in the U.S. military, one of the largest state-socialist programs in the entire world, also responsible for, you know, those wars that libertarians supposedly hate.

Over a quarter put their faith in the federal government all or most of the time, and 55% some of the time. Only 17% answered never. And despite all their supposed Ron Paul love, they trust the globalist United Nations even more than they do the feds.

A little nibble here with only 36% approving of Obamas handling of the budget deficit, but then again, thats actually better than his rating on the deficit with Americans of all ages. Plus, worrying about the budget deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.

And when we finally get down to a hypothetical libertarian match-up between Obama and Ron Paul41 percent pick Obama and only 27 percent pick Paul.

Oh, but the kiddies are cool with gay marriage and tired of bombing brown people overseas? No shit. That just makes them normal people living in the 21st century. Im for single-payer health care and cant stand Barney Frank. Does that mean I sip the Kool-Aid at the Lyndon LaRouche compound?

None of this should be too surprising. For almost two decades, roughly two-thirds of the American public have supported what wed call a moderate European welfare stateputting the average U.S. citizen significantly to the left of the Democratic party, a center/center-right organization saddled, much to their dismay, with a perpetually-disappointed center-left constituency.

But hey, our ruling class would shit a brick if any of that wealth redistribution stuff happened over here. Which is why this is a center-right nation has been a favorite Fox News talking point for over ten years. Its only nowafter Occupy Wall Street forced their handthat the media is finally willing to admit that it might be bullshit.

But libertarianism? Our ruling class is totally fine with that. Smoke your reefer and sodomize whomever you please, just keep your mouth shut and hand over your Social Security account.


Never trust a hippietarian

I get the appeal. The states been sticking it to working folks for decades. It seems almost unimaginable that Big Government could ever be run by us and not the One Percent.

But child labor laws, the Civil Rights act, federal income tax, minimum wage laws, Social Security, Medicare, food safetylibertarians have accused all of them as infringements upon the free market that would lead to economic ruin. And over and over again, theyve been proven wrong. Life goes ona little less gruesomelyand society prospers.

There is no such thing as a free-market, economist Ha-Joon Chang has said repeatedly. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

In other words, markets are social institutions, just as much under the thumb of politics and government as everything else. Which means theyre subject to democratic pressures, as they should be.

And what you earn from said markets? Chang: All our wages are, at root, politically determined. Despite what Ron Pauls trolls might have you believe, gold Krugerrands dont spray out your asshole every time you type up a spreadsheet or pour a Grande mochachino for your next customer.

Capitalism has always been a product of Big Government. Ever since the railroads of the nineteenth century, to Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and the banks, the Nanny State has been there all along, passing subsidies and tax breaks, and eating the costs the private sector doesnt want.

So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. Its like saying that the NFL is at war with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.


When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?

General Pinochets Chile was a longtime favorite. But seeing as how it relied on a fascist coupwith a big assist from Nixon and KissingerChiles lost a bit of that Cold War luster. So these days, for the slightly more with-it libertarian, we get Singapore as the model of choice.

Hey, isnt that where the Facebook guy lives these days? Thats pretty hip!

Ah, Singapore: a city-state near the very top in the world when it comes to number of police and execution rate per capita. Its a charming little one-party state where soft-core pornography is outlawed, labor rights are almost nonexistent and gay sex is banned. Expect a caning if you break a window. And death for a baggie of cocaine.

But hey: no capital gains tax! (Freedom!)

Singapore: Libertarian Paradise

Its not like any of this will make it through the glassy eyes of the true-believers. Ludwig von Mises, another libertarian pin-up boy, wrote in 1927 that, Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization.

Lately, Ron Pauls economic advisor has been claiming that Communist Party-ruled China has a freer market than the U.S.s.


So lets talk a little about this freedom theyre always going on about. Or, to paraphrase Lenin, the libertarians ultimate nemesis: freedom for who to do what?

Most American adults spend about half their waking hours at a job. And during that time, libertarians do not give a flying fuck about your liberty. Instead, they condone the most brutal of tyrannies all in the name of a private employers freedom.

Racial discrimination, verbal abuse, random drug testing, body-searches, sexual harassment, illegal termination, email monitoring, union busting, even withholding piss-breaksask any libertarian how they feel about workplace unfreedom and theyll tell you: Hey man, if you dont like it, you have the freedom to get another job. If folks are hiring. But with four-and-a-half applicants for every job, theyre probably not.

Heres another thing libertarians always forget to mention: a free-market capitalist society has never and by definition can never lead to full-employment. It has to be made to byyou guessed itthe Nanny State. Free market capitalism actually requires a huge mass of the unemployedits not just a side effect.

And make no mistake: corporate America loves a high unemployment rate.

When most everyone has a job, workers are less likely to take shit. They do nutty things like join unions, demand better wages and refuse to work off-the-clock. They start to stand up to real power: not to the EPA, and not the King of England, but to their bosses.

But with a real unemployment rate close to 20 percent, that aint happening. Well, fuck. Better sign up for that Big Government welfare state theyre always whining about. Hey, dont worry. You could always sell a little crack and turn a few tricks. Libertarians totally support that.

After all, thats your freedom, dude!


Libertarianism isnt some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional left to right spectrum. Its a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

Its the third way for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: No, no: the problem isnt that were too capitalist. Its that were not capitalist enough!


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think theyre John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doingwhatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. Its all make-believe, except for the chain-mailthey brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly good onesanti-war libertarianswere still talking about people who think Medicares going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, theyll talk about the deficit and say we just cant afford entitlement programs. Well, thats obviously a joke, so move on. Then theyll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantnamo Bay in Greenland.

Heres the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bossesthis is the power to say Im gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And Ill still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Connor Kilpatrick is the managing editor of Jacobin magazine.

Would you like to know more? Read Thirty More Years of Hell and Silent Majority Millennials by Connor Kilpatrick.

Read more: child labor laws, deficit, democratic party, fascism, fdr, george will, ha-joon chang, libertarian, ludwig von mises, lyndon larouche, medicare, millennials, nick gillespie, pinochet, reason, ron paul, Singapore, social security, socialism, Tea Party, Connor Kilpatrick, Class War For Idiots, Libertards

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

Liberty State Park – 316 Photos – Parks – Jersey City, NJ …

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty State Park – 316 Photos – Parks – Jersey City, NJ …
Sep 222015

I love this park so much! I’ve been here multiple times and I still manage to discover something new every time. First off, this park is HUGE! It’s really hard to see everything this park has to offer in just one day, especially when you take into account the secret parts (I’m not even being facetious either, look up miniature castle at LSP). This park has a little something for everyone. It’s great for biking, walking, picnics, photography, fishing, anything that you’re into.

I’ll admit that the walk into LSP using the Morris Canal footbridge is a bit suspect, but once you get past that, it’ll infinitely get better. At the end of the tree lined path, you’ll hit the water where there’s the Ellis Island ferry, 9/11 monuments, historical railroads and terminals. Here you’ll get the best shots of NYC.

Moving forward!!! After you’re done with the north end, there’s 2 main walk/bike paths, one along the water and the other on Freedom Way. They both go in the same direction, more or less, but are vastly different. The path along the water is beautiful and I highly recommend this path if you are a first timer. The boardwalk is lined with benches and has a nice view of Ellis Island, NY and the Statue of Liberty. Often times you’ll see people fishing here or flying kites nearby. If you keep walking this path until the very end, and I mean, until the very end, past the BBQ/picnic tables, past the Liberation monument and US Flag Plaza, you’ll eventually hit National Golf Club which looks like a building straight out of the Jetsons. Just keep going!! Pretend you’re Siddhartha listening to the water, because if you keep following it, you’ll end up seeing a wooden bridge, marshes, a different view of the SOL and a lookout point (which is closed due to Sandy). It’s so wonderfully quiet and peaceful once you hit this point. But your journey ends there because you’ll reach a closed community and I’m not trying to get anyone arrested for trespassing.

The other path option on Freedom Way is not as scenic, but is still very cool. I’ve been to LSP over 50x and it’s on this particular path that I keep discovering new things. Walking along Freedom Way is a little like taking a red pill, you have no idea how deep the rabbit-hole goes. This path isn’t as crowded and is geared towards people who want to exercise. There’s a wide bike shoulder lane on the right and a par course on the left that has very basic exercise equipment. If you keep to the left, you’ll hit the Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area, which is home to many adorable ducks and geese in the summer time. Nearby is the Interpretive Center, which is an ecological and educational facility, and also your starting point if you were trying to find the miniature castle. Along Freedom Way, you’ll find a lot of worn paths, taking them is up you to, but I’ve taken many and I’ve always been pleasantly surprised where I ended up.

In short, this park is beautiful and I cannot say enough about it. LSP is definitely worth a visit and makes a wonderful day trip or getaway from the city.

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Liberty State Park – 316 Photos – Parks – Jersey City, NJ …

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Freedom, New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom, New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sep 162015

Freedom is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York, United States. The population was 2,405 at the 2010 census.[1] The town is in the northeast corner of Cattaraugus County.

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,493 people, 871 households, and 680 families residing in the town. The population density was 61.8 people per square mile (23.9/km). There were 1,033 housing units at an average density of 25.6 per square mile (9.9/km). The racial makeup of the town was 98.88% White, 0.16% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.

There were 871 households out of which 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,654, and the median income for a family was $36,061. Males had a median income of $27,380 versus $22,188 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,145. About 12.2% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.

Freedom, New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aug 292015

Freedom is a novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and released on August 31, 2010.

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, and was ranked one of the best books of 2010 by several publications.

Freedom follows several members of an American family, the Berglunds, as well as their close friends and lovers, as complex and troubled relationships unfold over many years. The book follows them through the last decades of the twentieth century and concludes near the beginning of the Obama administration.

Freedom opens with a short history of the Berglund family from the perspective of their nosy neighbors. The Berglunds are portrayed as the most ideal liberal middle-class family, and they are among the first families to move back into urban St. Paul, Minnesota, after years of white flight to the suburbs. Patty Berglund is an unusually young and pretty homemaker with a self-deprecating sense of humor; her husband Walter is a mild-mannered lawyer with strong environmentalist leanings.

They have one daughter, Jessica, and a son, Joey, who early on displays an independent streak and an interest in making money. Joey becomes sexually involved with a neighborhood teen named Connie and begins to rebel against his mother, going so far as to move in with Connie, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend Blake, making Patty and Walter increasingly unstable. After several unhappy years, the family relocates to Washington, D.C., abandoning the neighborhood and house they worked so hard to improve. Walter takes a job with an unorthodox environmental project, tied to big coal.

The second portion of the book takes the form of an autobiography of Patty Berglund, composed at the suggestion of her therapist. The autobiography tells of Patty’s youth as a star basketball player, and her increasing alienation from her artistically inclined parents and sisters. Instead of attending an East Coast elite college like her siblings, she gets a basketball scholarship to the University of Minnesota and adopts the life of the athlete. She meets an attractive but unattainable indie rock musician named Richard Katz, and his nerdy but kind roommate, Walter Berglund. After her basketball career-ending knee injury, Patty suddenly becomes desperate for male affection, and after failing to woo Richard, she settles down with Walter, who had been patiently courting her for more than a year. We learn that Patty retained her desire for Richard and eventually had a brief affair with him at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin.

The novel then jumps ahead to New York City in 2004 and shifts to the story of Walter and Patty’s friend Richard, who has finally succeeded in becoming a minor indie rock star in his middle age. His hit album Nameless Lake tells the story of his brief love affair with Patty at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin in Minnesota. Richard is uncomfortable with commercial success, throws away his new-found money, and returns to building roof decks for wealthy people in Manhattan. Walter calls him out of the blue to enlist his help as a celebrity spokesman for an environmental campaign. Walter has taken a job in Washington, D.C. working for a coal mining magnate who wants to strip mine a section of West Virginia forest before turning it into a songbird preserve of future environmental value. Walter hopes to use some of this project’s funding to hold a concert to combat overpopulation, the common factor behind all his environmental concerns, and he believes that Richard will be able to rally well-known musicians to his cause. Meanwhile, Walter’s marriage to Patty has been deteriorating steadily, and his pretty young assistant Lalitha has fallen deeply in love with him.

In parallel, the Berglunds’ estranged, Republican son Joey attempts to finance his college life at the University of Virginia by taking on a dubious subcontract to provide spare parts for outdated supply trucks during the Iraq War. While at college, he marries his childhood sweetheart but dares not tell his parents. After visiting his roommate’s family in the DC suburbs, he also pursues his friend’s beautiful sister Jenna and is exposed to her father’s Zionist, neoconservative politics. After months of pursuing Jenna, when she finally wants him to have sex with her, he cannot maintain an erection. Later he becomes conflicted after making $850,000 selling defective truck parts to military suppliers in Iraq. In the end Joey gives away the excess proceeds of his profiteering, reconciles with his parents, settles down with Connie, and moves into a sustainable coffee business with the help of his father Walter.

Now, Richard’s re-appearance destroys Walter and Patty’s weakening marriage. Richard tries to convince Patty to leave Walter, but she shows Richard the autobiography she wrote as “therapy”, trying to convince him that she’s still in love with Walter. Richard deliberately leaves the autobiography on Walter’s desk, and Walter reads Patty’s true thoughts. Walter kicks Patty out of the house, and she moves to Jersey City to be with Richard, but the relationship only lasts six months. Later, she moves to Brooklyn alone and takes a job at a private school, discovering her skill for teaching younger children. When Patty leaves him, Walter has a catharsis on live television, revealing his contempt for the displaced West Virginian families and his various commercial backers. Local rednecks respond by dragging him from the platform and beating him up. He is promptly fired by the environmental trust, but his TV debacle makes him a viral video hero to radical youth across the nation. He and his assistant Lalitha become lovers and continue their plans to combat overpopulation through a concert to rally young people in the hills of West Virginia. Lalitha is killed in a suspicious car accident a few days before the concert is due to take place. Shattered, and having lost both of the women who loved him, Walter retreats to his family’s lakeside vacation house back in Minnesota. He becomes known to a new street of neighbors as a cranky old recluse, obsessed with house cats killing birds nesting on his property.

After a few years living in Brooklyn, Patty’s father dies and she is forced to settle the fight that erupts within her family of spoiled bohemians as they attempt to split up the much-diminished family fortune. This experience helps Patty to mature. After a few years of living alone, she appraises the emptiness of her life and honestly faces her advancing age. She decides to hunt down Walter, the only man who had ever really loved her. She drives to the lakeside cabin in Minnesota, and despite his rage and confusion, he eventually agrees to take her back. The book ends in 2008 as they leave as a couple to return to Patty’s job in New York City, after turning their old lakeside vacation home into a cat-proof fenced bird sanctuary, named in memory of Lalitha.

After the critical acclaim and popular success of his third novel The Corrections in 2001, Franzen began work on his fourth full-length novel. When asked during an October 30, 2002 interview on Charlie Rose how far he was into writing the new novel, Franzen replied:

I’m about a year of frustration and confusion into it…Y’know, I’m kind of down at the bottom of the submerged iceberg peering up for the surface of the water…I don’t have doubt about my ability to write a good book, but I have lots of doubt about what it’s going to look like.[1]

Franzen went on to suggest that a basic story outline was in place, and that his writing of the new novel was like a “guerilla war” approaching different aspects of the novel (alluding to characters, dialogue, plot development etc.).[1] Franzen also agreed that he would avoid public appearances, saying that “…getting some work done is the vacation” from the promotional work surrounding The Corrections and How To Be Alone.[1]

An excerpt entitled “Good Neighbors” appeared in the June 8 and June 15, 2009 issues of The New Yorker.[2] The magazine published a second extract entitled “Agreeable” in the May 31, 2010 edition.[3]

On October 16, 2009, Franzen made an appearance alongside David Bezmozgis at the New Yorker Festival at the Cedar Lake Theatre to read a portion of his forthcoming novel.[4][5] Sam Allard, writing for North By Northwestern website covering the event, said that the “…material from his new (reportedly massive) novel” was “as buoyant and compelling as ever” and “marked by his familiar undercurrent of tragedy”.[5] Franzen read “an extended clip from the second chapter.”[5]

On March 12, 2010, details about the plot and content of Freedom were published in the Macmillan fall catalogue for 2010.[6]

In an interview with Dave Haslam on October 3, 2010 Franzen discussed why he had called the book Freedom:

The reason I slapped the word on the book proposal I sold three years ago without any clear idea of what kind of book it was going to be is that I wanted to write a book that would free me in some way. And I will say this about the abstract concept of ‘freedom’; it’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.[7]

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, particularly for its writing and characterization. Shortly after the book’s release, the front cover of a TIME magazine issue showed a picture of Franzen above the words “Great American Novelist,” making him the first author to appear on the front cover in a decade.

Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times and Benjamin Alsup of Esquire believed it measured up to Franzen’s previous novel, The Corrections. Tanenhaus called it a “masterpiece of American fiction,” writing that it “[told] an engrossing story” and “[illuminated], through the steady radiance of its authors profound moral intelligence, the world we thought we knew.”[8] Alsup called it a great American novel. “[9] In The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg argued that readers who enjoyed The Corrections would enjoy Freedom. He also wrote that they’re “likely to come away from this novel moved in harder-to-fathom waysand grateful for it.”[10] An editor for Publishers Weekly wrote that it stood apart from most modern fiction because “Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving atincrediblygenuine hope.”[11]

Benjamin Secher of The Telegraph called Franzen one of America’s best living novelists, and Freedom the first great American novel of the “post-Obama era.”[12] In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones called him “a literary genius” and wrote that Freedom stood on “a different plane from other contemporary fiction.”[13]

Michiko Kakutani called the book “galvanic” and wrote that it showcased Franzen’s talent as a storyteller and “his ability to throw open a big, Updikean picture window on American middle-class life.” Kakutani also praised the novel’s characterization, going on to call it a “compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times.”[14]The Economist wrote that the novel contained “fully imagined characters in a powerful narrative.” The reviewer went on to say that it had “all its predecessor’s power and none of its faults.”[15]

Not all reviews were raving. Most lukewarm reviews praised the novel’s prose, but believed the author’s left-wing political stance was too obvious. Sam Anderson, in a review for New York magazine, thought the characterization was strong, but perceived the politics as sometimes too heavy-handed: “Franzen the crankmighty detester of Twitter, ATVs, and housing developments” occasionally “overpower[s] Franzen the artist […] but if crankiness is the motor that powers Franzen’s art, I’m perfectly willing to sit through some speeches.”[16]Ron Charles of The Washington Post also felt less favorably, remarking that it lacked the wit and “[freshness]” of The Corrections. Charles praised Franzen’s prose and called him “an extraordinary stylist,” but questioned how many readers would settle for good writing as “sufficient compensation for what is sometimes a misanthropic slog.”[17] In addition, Ruth Franklin of The New Republic believed the novel resembled a “soap opera” more than it did an epic, and that Franzen had forgotten “the greatest novels must […] offer […] profundity and pleasure.”[18]

Alexander Nazaryan criticized its familiarity in the New York Daily News remarking that the author “can write about a gentrifying family in St. Paul. Or maybe in St. Louis. But that’s about it. Nazaryan also didn’t believe Franzen was joking when he suggested “being doomed as a novelist never to do anything but stories of Midwestern families.”[19]Alan Cheuse of National Public Radio found the novel “[brilliant]” but not enjoyable, suggesting that “every line, every insight, seems covered with a light film of disdain. Franzen seems never to have met a normal, decent, struggling human being whom he didn’t want to make us feel ever so slightly superior to. His book just has too much brightness and not enough color.”[20]

Ross Douthat of First Things praised the “stretches of Freedom that read like a master class in how to write sympathetically about the kind of characters” with an abundance of freedom. Yet, Douthat concluded the novel was overlong, feeling the “impression that Franzen’s talents are being wasted on his characters.”[21]

Freedom won the John Gardner Fiction Award. Additionally, it was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The American Library Association also named it a notable fiction of the 2010 publishing year.

Oprah Winfrey made Freedom her first book club selection of 2010, saying, “this book is a masterpiece.”[22][23] US President Barack Obama called it “terrific” after reading it over the summer.[24]

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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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USS Liberty incident – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 182015

The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USSLiberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats, on 8 June 1967, during the Six-Day War.[3] The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 171 crew members, and severely damaged the ship.[4] At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5nmi (29.3mi; 47.2km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish.[1][5]

Israel apologized for the attack, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship.[6] Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the ship’s identity,[2] though others, including survivors of the attack, have rejected these conclusions and maintain that the attack was deliberate.[7]

In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 (US$22.5 million 2015) in compensation to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the final U.S. bill of $17,132,709 for material damage to Liberty herself plus 13 years’ interest.[8]

USSLiberty was originally the 7,725 long tons (7,849t) (light) civilian cargo vessel Simmons Victory, a mass-produced, standard-design Victory Ship, the follow-on series to the famous Liberty Ships, which supplied the United Kingdom and Allied troops with cargo. it was acquired by the United States Navy, converted to an Auxiliary Technical Research Ship (AGTR),[9] and began her first deployment in 1965, to waters off the west coast of Africa. it carried out several more operations during the next two years.

During the Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab nations, the United States of America maintained a neutral country status.[10] Several days before the war began, the USS Liberty was ordered to proceed to the eastern Mediterranean area to perform a signals intelligence collection mission in international waters near the north coast of Sinai, Egypt.[11] After the war erupted, due to concerns about her safety as she approached her patrol area, several messages were sent to Liberty to increase her allowable closest point of approach (CPA) to Egypt’s and Israel’s coasts from 12.5 and 6.5nmi (14.4 and 7.5mi; 23.2 and 12.0km), respectively, to 20 and 15nmi (23 and 17mi; 37 and 28km), and then later to 100nmi (120mi; 190km) for both countries.[12] Unfortunately, due to ineffective message handling and routing, the CPA change messages were not received until after the attack.[12]

According to Israeli sources, at the start of the war on 5 June, General Yitzhak Rabin (then IDF Chief of Staff) informed Commander Ernest Carl Castle, the American Naval Attach in Tel Aviv, that Israel would defend its coast with every means at its disposal, including sinking unidentified ships. Also, he asked the U.S. to keep its ships away from Israel’s shore or at least inform Israel of their exact position.[13][14]

American sources said that no inquiry about ships in the area was made until after the Liberty attack ended. In a message sent from U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk to U.S. Ambassador Walworth Barbour, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Rusk asked for “urgent confirmation” of Israel’s statement. Barbour responded: “No request for info on U.S. ships operating off Sinai was made until after Liberty incident.” Further, Barbour stated: “Had Israelis made such an inquiry it would have been forwarded immediately to the chief of naval operations and other high naval commands and repeated to dept [Department of State].”[15]

With the outbreak of war, Captain William L. McGonagle of Liberty immediately asked Vice Admiral William I. Martin at the United States Sixth Fleet headquarters to send a destroyer to accompany Liberty and serve as its armed escort and as an auxiliary communications center. The following day, 6 June, Admiral Martin replied: “Liberty is a clearly marked United States ship in international waters, not a participant in the conflict and not a reasonable subject for attack by any nation. Request denied.”[16] He promised, however, that in the unlikely event of an inadvertent attack, jet fighters from the Sixth Fleet would be overhead in ten minutes.

Meanwhile, on 6 June, at the United Nations, in response to United Arab Republic complaints that the United States was supporting Israel in the conflict, U.S. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg said to the Security Council that aircraft of the Sixth Fleet were several hundred miles from the conflict,[12] indicating that elements of the Sixth Fleet itself were far from the conflict. When the statement was made this was the case, since Liberty, now assigned to the Sixth Fleet, was in the central Mediterranean Sea, passing between Libya and Crete;[17] but she would ultimately steam to about 13nmi (15mi; 24km) north of the Sinai Peninsula.[18]

On the night of 7 June Washington time, early morning on 8 June, 01:10Z or 3:10am local time, the Pentagon issued an order to Sixth Fleet headquarters to tell Liberty to come no closer than 100nmi (120mi; 190km) to Israel, Syria, or the Sinai coast (Oren, p.263).[19]:5, 58 (Exhibit N)

According to the Naval Court of Inquiry[20]:23 ff, 111 ff and National Security Agency official history,[21] the order to withdraw was not sent on the radio frequency that Liberty monitored for her orders until 15:25 Zulu, several hours after the attack, due to a long series of administrative and message routing problems. The Navy said a large volume of unrelated high-precedence traffic, including intelligence intercepts related to the conflict, were being handled at the time; and that this combined with a shortage of qualified Radiomen contributed to delayed sending of the withdrawal message.[20]:111 ff

Official testimony combined with Liberty’s deck log say that throughout the morning of the attack, 8 June, the ship was overflown, at various times and locations, by Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft.[18] The primary aircraft type was the Nord Noratlas; there were also two unidentified delta-wing jets at about 9:00am Sinai time (GMT+2).[18]Liberty crewmembers say that one of the Noratlas aircraft flew so close to Liberty that noise from its propellers rattled the ship’s deck plating, and that the pilots and crewmembers waved to each other.[22] It was later reported, based on information from Israel Defense Forces sources, that the over-flights were coincidental, and that the aircraft were hunting for Egyptian submarines that had been spotted near the coast.[23]

At about 5:45am Sinai time, a ship-sighting report was received at Israeli Central Coastal Command (CCC) about Liberty, identified by an aerial naval observer as “apparently a destroyer, sailing 70 miles [110km] west of Gaza.”[24] The vessel’s location was marked on a CCC Control Table, using a red marker, indicating an unidentified vessel.[25] At about 6:00am, the aerial naval observer reported that the ship appeared like a U.S. Navy supply ship; the red marker was replaced with a green marker to indicate a neutral vessel, at about 9:00am.[25] At that same time, an Israeli jet fighter pilot reported that a ship 20 miles (32km) north of Arish had fired at his aircraft after he tried to identify the vessel.[25] Israeli naval command dispatched two destroyers to investigate, but they were returned to their previous positions at 9:40am after doubts emerged during the pilot’s debriefing.[25] After the naval observer’s Noratlas landed and he was debriefed, the ship he saw was further identified as the USS Liberty, based on its “GTR-5” hull markings.[26] USS Liberty’s marker was removed from CCC’s Control Table at 11:00am, due to its positional information being considered stale.[27]

At 11:24am, Israeli Chief of Naval Operations received a report that Arish was being shelled from the sea.[27] An inquiry into the source of the report was ordered to determine its validity.[27] The report came from an Air Support Officer in Arish.[28] Additionally, at 11:27am Israeli Supreme Command Head of Operations received a report stating that a ship had been shelling Arish, but the shells had fallen short.[28] (Investigative journalist James Bamford points out that Liberty had only four .50 caliber machine guns mounted on her decks and, thus, could not have shelled the coast.[29] ) The Head of Operations ordered that the report be verified, and determine whether or not Israeli Navy vessels were off the coast of Arish.[28] At 11:45am, another report arrived at Supreme Command saying two ships were approaching the Arish coast.[28]

The shelling and ships reports were passed from Supreme Command to Fleet Operations Control Center.[28] The Chief of Naval Operations took them seriously, and at 12:05pm torpedo boat Division 914 was ordered to patrol in the direction of Arish.[28]

Division 914, codenamed “Pagoda”, was under the command of Commander Moshe Oren.[28] It consisted of three torpedo boats numbered: T-203, T-204 and T-206.[28] At 12:15pm, Division 914 received orders to patrol a position 20 miles (32km) north of Arish.[28] As Commander Oren headed toward Arish, he was informed by Naval Operations of the reported shelling of Arish and told that IAF aircraft would be dispatched to the area after the target had been detected.[28]

Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin was concerned that the supposed Egyptian shelling was the prelude to an amphibious landing that could outflank Israeli forces. Rabin reiterated the standing order to sink any unidentified ships in the area, but advised caution, as Soviet vessels were reportedly operating nearby.[23]

At 1:41pm, the torpedo boats detected an unknown vessel 20 miles northwest of Arish and 14 miles (23km) off the coast of Bardawil.[1][30] The ship’s speed was estimated on their radars.[30] The Combat Information Center officer on T-204, Ensign Aharon Yifrah, reported to the boat’s captain, Commander Moshe Oren, that the target had been detected at a range of 22 miles (35km), that her speed had been tracked for a few minutes, after which he had determined that the target was moving westward at a speed of 30 knots (56km/h; 35mph). These data were forwarded to the Fleet Operations Control Center.[30]

The speed of the target was significant because it indicated that the target was a combat vessel.[30] Moreover, Israeli forces had standing orders to fire on any unknown vessels sailing in the area at over 20 knots (37km/h; 23mph), a speed which, at the time, could only be attained by warships. The Chief of Naval Operations asked the torpedo boats to double-check their calculations. Yifrah twice recalculated and confirmed his assessment.[23][30] A few minutes later, Commander Oren reported that the target, now 17 miles (27km) from his position, was moving at a speed of 28 knots (52km/h; 32mph) on a different heading.[31] Bamford, however, points out that Liberty’s top speed was far below 28 knots. His sources say that at the time of the attack Liberty was following her signal-intercept mission course along the northern Sinai coast, at about 5 knots (9.3km/h; 5.8mph) speed.[29]

The data on the ship’s speed, together with its direction, indicated that it was an Egyptian destroyer fleeing toward port after shelling Arish. The torpedo boats gave chase, but did not expect to overtake their target before it reached Egypt. Commander Oren requested that the Israeli Air Force dispatch aircraft to intercept.[23][30] At 1:48pm, the Chief of Naval Operations requested dispatch of fighter aircraft to the ship’s location.[32]

The IAF dispatched two Mirage III fighter jets that arrived at Liberty at about 2:00 pm.[33] The formation leader, Captain Iftach Spector, attempted to identify the ship.[33] He communicated via radio to one of the torpedo boats his observation that the ship appeared like a military ship with one smokestack and one mast.[34] Also, he communicated, in effect, that the ship appeared to him like a destroyer or another type of small ship.[34] In a post-attack statement, the pilots said they saw no distinguishable markings or flag on the ship.[34]

At this point, a recorded exchange took place between a command headquarters weapons systems officer, one of the air controllers, and the chief air controller questioning a possible American presence. Immediately after the exchange, at 1:57pm, the chief air controller, Lieutenant-Colonel Shmuel Kislev, cleared the Mirages to attack.[23][35]

After being cleared to attack, the Mirages dived on the ship and attacked with 30-mm cannons and rockets.[36] The attack came a few minutes after the crew completed a chemical attack drill, with Captain McGonagle on the command bridge.[37] The crew was in “stand-down mode”, with their helmets and life jackets removed,[23] except battle readiness “modified condition three” was set which meant that the ship’s four .50 caliber machine guns were manned and ammunition ready for loading and firing.[38][39] Eight crewmen were either killed immediately or died later, and 75 were wounded.[40] Among the wounded was McGonagle, who was hit in the right thigh and arm.[41] During the attack, antennas were severed, gas drums caught fire, and the ship’s flag was knocked down. McGonagle sent an urgent request for help to the Sixth Fleet, “Under attack by unidentified jet aircraft, require immediate assistance.”

The Mirages left after expending their ammunition, and were replaced by two Dassault Mysteres armed with napalm bombs. The Mysteres released their payloads over the ship and strafed it with their cannons. Much of the ship’s superstructure caught fire.[23][33] The Mysteres were readying to attack again when the Israeli Navy, alerted by the absence of return fire, warned Kislev that the target could be Israeli. Kislev told the pilots not to attack if there was any doubt about identification, and the Israeli Navy quickly contacted all of its vessels in the area. The Israeli Navy found that none of its vessels were under fire, and the aircraft were cleared to attack. However, Kislev was still disturbed by a lack of return fire, and requested one last attempt to identify the ship. Captain Yossi Zuk, leader of the Mystere formation, made an attempt at identification while strafing the ship. He reported seeing no flag, but saw the ship’s GTR-5 marking. Kislev immediately ordered the attack stopped. Kislev guessed that the ship was American.[23]

The fact that the ship had Latin alphabet markings led Chief of Staff Rabin to fear that the ship was Soviet. Though Egyptian warships were known to disguise their identities with Western markings, they usually displayed Arabic letters and numbers only. Rabin ordered the torpedo boats to remain at a safe distance from the ship, and sent in two Hornet (Arospatiale Super Frelon) helicopters to search for survivors. These radio communications were recorded by Israel. The order also was recorded in the torpedo boat’s log, although Commander Oren alleged not to have received it. The order to cease fire was given at 2:20pm, twenty-four minutes before the torpedo boats arrived at the Liberty’s position.[42] At 2:35pm, Liberty was hit by a torpedo launched from one of the torpedo boats.[43]

During the interval, crewmen aboard Liberty hoisted a large American flag. During the early part of the air attack and before the torpedo boats were sighted, Liberty sent a distress message that was received by Sixth Fleet aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.[40] Aircraft carrier USS America dispatched eight aircraft. The carrier had been in the middle of strategic exercises. Vice-Admiral William I. Martin recalled the aircraft minutes later.[23]

McGonagle testified at the naval court of inquiry that during “the latter moments of the air attack, it was noted that three high speed boats were approaching the ship from the northeast on a relative bearing of approximately 135 [degrees] at a distance of about 15 [nautical] miles. The ship at the time was still on [westward] course 283 [degrees] true, speed unknown, but believed to be in excess of five knots.”[20]:38 McGonagle testified that he “believed that the time of initial sighting of the torpedo boats … was about 14:20 [2:20 pm]”, and that the “boats appeared to be in a wedge type formation with the center boat the lead point of the wedge. Estimated speed of the boats was about 27 to 30 knots [50 to 56km/h],” and that it “appeared that they were approaching the ship in a torpedo launch attitude.”[20]:38

When the torpedo boats arrived, Commander Oren could see that the ship could not be the destroyer that had supposedly shelled Arish or any ship capable of 30 knots (56km/h) speed. Oren believed it was a slower-moving vessel that had either serviced the destroyer or evacuated enemy soldiers from the beach.[citation needed] He ordered the squadron not to attack pending better identification “although this was difficult due to the billowing clouds of smoke that enveloped the vessel; only her bow, part of her bridge and the tip of her mast could be discerned.”[citation needed] At 6,000 meters (20,000ft), T-204 paused and signalled “AA” “identify yourself.”[citation needed] Due to damaged equipment, McGonagle could only reply with “AA” using a handheld Aldis lamp.[citation needed] Oren recalled receiving a similar response from the Ibrahim el Awal, an Egyptian destroyer captured by Israel during the Suez Crisis, and was convinced that he was facing an enemy ship.[citation needed]

He consulted an Israeli identification guide to Arab fleets and concluded the ship was the Egyptian supply ship El Quseir, based on observing its deckline, midship bridge and smokestack. The captain of boat T203 reached the same conclusion independently. The boats organized into battle formation, but did not attack.[42][44]

As the torpedo boats rapidly approached, Captain McGonagle ordered a sailor to proceed to machine gun Mount 51 and open fire.[20]:38 However, he noticed that the boats appeared to be flying an Israeli flag, and “realized that there was a possibility of the aircraft having been Israeli and the attack had been conducted in error.”[20]:39 Captain McGonagle ordered the man at gun mount 51 to hold fire, but a short burst was fired at the torpedo boats before the man was able to understand the order.[20]:39 McGonagle observed that machine gun Mount 53 began firing at the center torpedo boat at about the same time gun mount 51 fired, and that its fire was “extremely effective and blanketed the area and the center torpedo boat.”[20]:39 Machine gun mount 53 was located on the starboard amidships side, behind the pilot house.[20]:16 McGonagle could not see or “get to mount 53 from the starboard wing of the bridge.”[20]:39 So, he “sent Mr. Lucas around the port side of the bridge, around to the skylights, to see if he could tell [Seaman] Quintero, whom [he] believed to be the gunner on Machine gun 53, to hold fire.”[20]:39

Ensign Lucas “reported back in a few minutes in effect that he saw no one at mount 53.”[20]:39 Lucas, who had left the command bridge during the air attack and returned to assist Captain McGonagle immediately before a torpedo hit the ship,[20]:14 believed that the gunfire sound was likely from ammunition cooking off, due to a nearby fire.[20]:16 Prior to this time, after a torpedo hit the ship, Lucas had granted a request from Quintero to fire at the torpedo boats before heat from a nearby fire chased him from gun mount 53.[20]:26,27 (McGonagle later testified, at the Court of Inquiry, that this was likely the “extremely effective” firing event he had observed.[20]:49)

After coming under fire, Commander Oren repeatedly requested permission from naval headquarters to return fire, and chief naval controller Izzy Rahav finally approved.[citation needed] Shelling by the torpedo boats killed Liberty’s helmsman.[43] The torpedo boats then launched five torpedoes at the Liberty.[45] At 1235Z (2:35 local time)[43] a torpedo hit Liberty on the starboard side forward of the superstructure, creating a 40ft (12m) wide hole in what had been a former cargo hold converted to the ship’s research spaces and killing 25 servicemen, almost all of them from the intelligence section, and wounding dozens.[23][46] It has been said the torpedo hit a major hull frame that absorbed much of the energy; crew members reported that if the torpedo had missed the frame the Liberty would have split in two. Russian linguist and U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Bryce Lockwood later commented: “I would never deny that it was God that kept the Liberty afloat!”.[7] The other four torpedoes missed the ship.

The torpedo boats then closed in and strafed the ship’s hull with their cannons and machine guns.[citation needed] According to some crewmen, the torpedo boats fired at damage control parties and sailors preparing life rafts for launch. (See disputed details below.) A life raft which floated from the ship was picked up by T-203 and found to bear US Navy markings. T-204 then circled Liberty, and Oren spotted the designation GTR-5, but saw no flag.[citation needed] It took until 3:30pm to establish the ship’s identity. Shortly before the Liberty’s identity was confirmed, the Saratoga launched eight aircraft armed with conventional weapons towards Liberty. After the ship’s identity was confirmed, the General Staff was notified and an apology was sent to naval attach Castle. The aircraft approaching Liberty were recalled to the Saratoga.[23]

According to transcripts of intercepted radio communications, published by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), at about 2:30pm, near the beginning of the torpedo boat attack, two IAF helicopters were dispatched to Liberty’s location. The helicopters arrived at about 3:10pm, about 35 minutes after a torpedo hit the ship. After arriving, one of the helicopter pilots was asked, by his ground-based controller, to verify that the ship was flying an American flag. The helicopters conducted a brief search for crew members of the ship who may have fallen overboard during the air attack. No one was found. The helicopters left the ship at about 3:20pm.

At about 4pm, two hours after the attack began, Israel informed the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv that its military forces had mistakenly attacked a U.S. Navy ship. When the ship was “confirmed to be American” the torpedo boats returned at about 4:40pm to offer help;[47] it was refused by the Liberty. Later, Israel provided a helicopter to fly U.S. naval attach Commander Castle to the ship.[48] (pp.32,34)

In Washington, President Lyndon B. Johnson had received word from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Liberty had been torpedoed by an unknown vessel at 9:50am eastern time. Johnson assumed that the Soviets were involved, and hotlined Moscow with news of the attack and the dispatch of jets from Saratoga. He chose not to make any public statements and delegated this task to Phil G. Goulding, who was an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs at a time.[49]

Soon afterward, the Israelis said that they had mistakenly attacked the ship. The Johnson administration conveyed “strong dismay” to Israeli ambassador Avraham Harman. Meanwhile, apologies were soon sent by Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, and charg d’affaires Efraim Evron. Within 48 hours, Israel offered to compensate the victims and their families.[42]

Though Liberty was severely damaged, with a 39ft wide by 24ft high (12 m x 7.3 m) hole and a twisted keel, her crew kept her afloat, and she was able to leave the area under her own power. Liberty was later met by the destroyers USS Davis and USS Massey, and the cruiser USS Little Rock. Medical personnel were transferred to Liberty, and she was escorted to Malta, where she was given interim repairs. After these were completed in July 1967, Liberty returned to the U.S. She was decommissioned in June 1968 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register. Liberty was transferred to United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) in December 1970 and sold for scrap in 1973.

From the start, the response to Israeli statements of mistaken identity ranged between frank disbelief and unquestioning acceptance within the administration in Washington. A communication to the Israeli Ambassador on 10 June, by Secretary Rusk stated, among other things: “At the time of the attack, the USS Liberty was flying the American flag and its identification was clearly indicated in large white letters and numerals on its hull. … Experience demonstrates that both the flag and the identification number of the vessel were readily visible from the air…. Accordingly, there is every reason to believe that the USS Liberty was identified, or at least her nationality determined, by Israeli aircraft approximately one hour before the attack. … The subsequent attack by the torpedo boats, substantially after the vessel was or should have been identified by Israeli military forces, manifests the same reckless disregard for human life.”[50]

George Lenczowski notes: “It was significant that, in contrast to his secretary of state, President Johnson fully accepted the Israeli version of the tragic incident.” He notes that Johnson himself only included one small paragraph about the Liberty in his autobiography,[51] in which he accepted the Israeli explanation of “error”, but also minimized the whole affair and distorted the actual number of dead and wounded, by lowering them from 34 to 10 and 171 to 100, respectively. Lenczowski further states: It seems Johnson was more interested in avoiding a possible confrontation with the Soviet Union, …than in restraining Israel.[52]

McGonagle received the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. medal, for his actions.[53][54] The Medal of Honor is generally presented by the President of the United States in the White House,[54][55] but this time it was awarded at the Washington Navy Yard by the Secretary of the Navy in an unpublicized ceremony, breaking with established tradition.[54]

Other Liberty sailors received decorations for their actions during and after the attack, but most of the award citations omitted mention of Israel as the perpetrator. In 2009, however, a Silver Star awarded to crewmember Terry Halbardier, who braved machine-gun and cannon fire to repair a damaged antenna that restored the ship’s communications, in the award citation named Israel as the attacker.[56]

American inquiries, memoranda, records of testimony, and various reports involving or mentioning the Liberty attack include, but are not limited to, the following:

The U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry record contains testimony by fourteen Liberty crew members and five subject matter experts; exhibits of attack damage photographs, various messages and memoranda; and findings of fact. The testimony record reveals “a shallow investigation, plagued by myriad disagreements between the captain and his crew.”[57] As to culpability, “It was not the responsibility of the court to rule on the culpability of the attackers, and no evidence was heard from the attacking nation”, the court concluded that “available evidence combines to indicate … (that the attack was) a case of mistaken identity.” Additionally, the Court found that “heroism displayed by the Commanding Officer, officers and men of the Liberty was exceptional.”

The Joint Chief of Staff’s Report contains findings of fact related only to communication system failures associated with the Liberty attack. It was not concerned with matters of culpability, nor does it contain statements thereof.

The CIA Memoranda consist of two documents: one dated June 13, 1967, and the other dated June 21, 1967. The June 13 memorandum is an “account of circumstances of the attack … compiled from all available sources.” The June 21 memorandum is a point-by-point analysis of Israeli inquiry findings of fact. It concludes: “The attack was not made in malice toward the U.S. and was by mistake, but the failure of the IDF Headquarters and the attacking aircraft to identify the Liberty and the subsequent attack by torpedo boats were both incongruous and indicative of gross negligence.”

The Clark Clifford Report consists of a review of “all available information on the subject” and “deals with the question of Israeli culpability”, according to its transmittal memorandum. The report concludes: “The unprovoked attack on the Liberty constitutes a flagrant act of gross negligence for which the Israeli Government should be held completely responsible, and the Israeli military personnel involved should be punished.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony contains, as an aside matter during hearings concerning a foreign aid authorization bill, questions and statements from several senators and responses from then Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, about the Liberty attack. For the most part, the senators were dismayed about the attack, as expressed by Senator Bourke B. Hickenlooper: “From what I have read I can’t tolerate for one minute that this [attack] was an accident.” Also, there was concern about obtaining more information about the attack, as expressed by Committee chairman J. William Fulbright: “We asked for [the attack investigation report] about two weeks ago and have not received it yet from Secretary Rusk. … By the time we get to it we will be on some other subject.” Secretary McNamara promised fast delivery of the investigation report (“…you will have it in four hours.”), and concluded his remarks by saying: “I simply want to emphasize that the investigative report does not show any evidence of a conscious intent to attack a U.S. vessel.”[58]

The House Armed Services Committee investigation report is titled, “Review of Department of Defense Worldwide Communications”. It was not an investigation focused on the Liberty attack; although, the committee’s report contains a section that describes communications flow involved with the Liberty incident.

The NSA History Report is, as its name connotes, a historical report that cited the U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry record, various military and government messages and memorandum, and personal interviews for its content. The report ends with a section entitled, “Unanswered Questions”, and provides no conclusion regarding culpability.

The Liberty Veterans Association (composed of veterans from the ship) states that U.S. congressional investigations and other U.S. investigations were not actually investigations into the attack, but rather reports using evidence only from the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, or investigations unrelated to culpability that involved issues such as communications. In their view, the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry is the only actual investigation on the incident to date. They say it was hastily conducted, in only 10 days, even though the court’s president, Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, said that it would take six months to conduct properly. The inquiry’s terms of reference were limited to whether any shortcomings on the part of the Liberty’s crew had contributed to the injuries and deaths that resulted from the attack.[59] According to the Navy Court of Inquiry’s record of proceedings, four days were spent hearing testimony: two days for fourteen survivors of the attack and several U.S. Navy expert witnesses, and two partial days for two expert U.S. Navy witnesses. No testimony was heard from Israeli personnel involved.

The National Archives in College Park, Maryland includes in its files on casualties from the Liberty copies of the original telegrams the Navy sent out to family members. The telegrams called the attack accidental. The telegrams were sent out June 9, the day before the Navy Court of Inquiry convened.

Two subsequent Israeli inquiry reports and an historical report concluded the attack was conducted because Liberty was confused with an Egyptian vessel and because of failures in communications between Israel and the U.S. The three Israeli reports were:

In the historical report, it was acknowledged that IDF naval headquarters knew at least three hours before the attack that the ship was “an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy” but concluded that this information had simply “gotten lost, never passed along to the ground controllers who directed the air attack nor to the crews of the three Israeli torpedo boats.”

The Israeli government said that three crucial errors were made: the refreshing of the status board (removing the ship’s classification as American, so that the later shift did not see it identified), the erroneous identification of the ship as an Egyptian vessel, and the lack of notification from the returning aircraft informing Israeli headquarters of markings on the front of the hull (markings that would not be found on an Egyptian ship). As a common root of these problems, Israel blamed the combination of alarm and fatigue experienced by the Israeli forces at that point of the war when pilots were severely overworked.

After conducting his own fact-finding inquiry and reviewing evidence, Judge Yerushalmi’s decision was: “I have not discovered any deviation from the standard of reasonable conduct which would justify committal of anyone for trial.” In other words, he found no negligence by any IDF member associated with the attack.

Some intelligence and military officials dispute Israel’s explanation.[63]

Dean Rusk, U.S. Secretary of State at the time of the incident, wrote:

I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.[64]

Retired naval Lieutenant Commander James Ennes, a junior officer (and off-going Officer of the Deck) on Liberty’s bridge at the time of the attack, authored a book titled Assault on the Liberty describing the incident during the Six Day War in June 1967 and saying, among other things, that the attack was deliberate.[65] Ennes and Joe Meadors, also survivors of the attack, run a website about the incident.[66] Meadors states that the classification of the attack as deliberate is the official policy of the USS Liberty Veterans Association,[67] to which survivors and other former crew members belong. Other survivors run several additional websites. Citing Ennes’s book, Lenczowski notes: Liberty’s personnel received firm orders not to say anything to anybody about the attack, and the naval inquiry was conducted in such a way as to earn it the name of “coverup”.[52]

In 2002, Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, U.S. Navy, senior counsel for the Court of Inquiry, said that the Court of Inquiry’s findings were intended to cover up what was a deliberate attack by Israel on a ship that the Israelis knew to be American. In 2004, in response to the publication of A. Jay Cristol’s book The Liberty Incident, which Boston said was an “insidious attempt to whitewash the facts”, Boston prepared and signed an affidavit in which he said that Admiral Kidd had told him that the government ordered Kidd to falsely report that the attack was a mistake, and that Boston and Kidd both believed the attack was deliberate.[68] On the issue Boston wrote, in part:

The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 172 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. Each evening, after hearing testimony all day, we often spoke our private thoughts concerning what we had seen and heard. I recall Admiral Kidd repeatedly referring to the Israeli forces responsible for the attack as ‘murderous bastards.’ It was our shared belief, based on the documentary evidence and testimony we received first hand, that the Israeli attack was planned and deliberate, and could not possibly have been an accident.

Cristol wrote about Boston’s professional qualifications and integrity, on page 149 of his book:

Boston brought two special assets in addition to his skill as a Navy lawyer. He had been a naval aviator in World War II and therefore had insight beyond that of one qualified only in the law. Also, Kidd knew him as a man of integrity. On an earlier matter Boston had been willing to bump heads with Kidd when Boston felt it was more important to do the right thing than to curry favor with the senior who would write his fitness report.

Cristol believes that Boston is not telling the truth about Kidd’s views and any pressure from the U.S. government.[69] Cristol, who also served as an officer of the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General, suggests that Boston was responsible in part for the original conclusions of the Court of Inquiry and, that by later declaring that they were false, Boston has admitted to “lying under oath.” Cristol also notes that Boston’s statements about pressure on Kidd were hearsay, and that Kidd was not alive to confirm or deny them. He also notes that Boston did not maintain, prior to his affidavit and comments related to it, that Kidd spoke of such instructions to Boston or to others. Finally, Cristol provides a handwritten 1991 letter from Admiral Kidd[70] that, according to Cristol, “suggest that Ward Boston has either a faulty memory or a vivid imagination”.

The Anti-Defamation League supports Cristol’s opinion:

… according to his own account, Boston’s evidence of a cover-up derives not from his own part in the investigation but solely on alleged conversations with Admiral Kidd, who purportedly told him he was forced to find that the attack was unintentional. Kidd died in 1999 and there is no way to verify Boston’s statements. However, Cristol argues that the ‘documentary record’ strongly indicated that Kidd ‘supported the validity of the findings of the Court of Inquiry to his dying day.'[71]

According to James Ennes, however, Admiral Kidd urged Ennes and his group to keep pressing for an open congressional probe.[72]

The following arguments, found in official reports or other sources, were published to support that the attack was due to mistaken identity:

Several books and the BBC documentary USS Liberty: Dead in the Water argued that Liberty was attacked in order to prevent the U.S. from knowing about the forthcoming attack in the Golan Heights, which would violate a cease-fire to which Israel’s government had agreed.[75] However, Syria did not accept the cease fire until 9 June, after the attack on Liberty.[76] Russian author Joseph Daichman, in his book History of the Mossad, states Israel was justified in attacking the Liberty.[77] Israel knew that American radio signals were intercepted by the Soviet Union and that the Soviets would certainly inform Egypt of the fact that, by moving troops to the Golan Heights, Israel had left the Egyptian border undefended.[78]

Lenczowski notes that while the Israeli decision to “attack and destroy” the ship “may appear puzzling”, the explanation seems to be found in Liberty’s nature and its task to monitor communications on both sides in the war zone. He writes, “Israel clearly did not want the U.S. government to know too much about its dispositions for attacking Syria, initially planned for 8 June, but postponed for 24 hours. It should be pointed out that the attack on Liberty occurred on 8 June, whereas on 9 June at 3am, Syria announced its acceptance of the cease-fire. Despite this, at 7am, that is, four hours later, Israel’s minister of defense, Moshe Dayan, “gave the order to go into action against Syria.”[79] He further writes that timely knowledge of this decision and preparatory moves toward it “might have frustrated Israeli designs for the conquest of Syria’s Golan Heights” and, in the sense of Ennes’s accusations, provides “a plausible thesis that Israel deliberately decided to incapacitate the signals-collecting American ship and leave no one alive to tell the story of the attack.”[80]

U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Barbour, had reported on the day of the Liberty attack that he “would not be surprised” by an Israeli attack on Syria, and the IDF Intelligence chief told a White House aide then in Israel that “there still remained the Syria problem and perhaps it would be necessary to give Syria a blow.”[81]

The 1981 book Weapons by Russell Warren Howe says that Liberty was accompanied by the Polaris ballistic missile-armed Lafayette-class submarine USSAndrew Jackson, which filmed the entire episode through its periscope but was unable to provide assistance. According to Howe: “Two hundred feet below the ship, on a parallel course, was its ‘shadow’the Polaris strategic submarine Andrew Jackson, whose job was to take out all the Israeli long-range missile sites in the Negev if Tel Aviv decided to attack Cairo, Damascus or Baghdad. This was in order that Moscow would not have to perform this task itself and thus trigger World War Three.”[82]

James Bamford, a former ABC News producer, in his 2001 book Body of Secrets,[83] says Israel deliberately attacked Liberty to prevent the discovery of what he described as war crimes, including the killing of Egyptian prisoners of war by the IDF that he alleges was taking place around the same time in the nearby town of El-Arish.[84] However according to CAMERA his claim that 400 were executed has been cast into doubt since reporters present in the town claimed that there had in fact been a large battle and this was the main cause of casualties.[85] Bamford also claimed that eyewitness Gabi Bron had claimed he saw 150 people executed by Israeli troops at El-Arish.[83] However Gabi Bron claimed to have only seen 5 people executed by Israeli troops.[86][87]

The press release for the BBC documentary film Dead in the Water states that new recorded and other evidence suggests the attack was a “daring ploy by Israel to fake an Egyptian attack” to give America a reason to enter the war against Egypt. Convinced that the attack was real, President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson launched allegedly nuclear-armed aircraft targeted against Cairo from a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. The aircraft were recalled only just in time, when it was clear the Liberty had not sunk and that Israel had carried out the attack. An information source for the aircraft being nuclear-armed, James Ennes, later stated:

Although America could not send conventionally armed jets, reports still come in that four jet bombers were catapulted from the carrier America with nuclear bombs aboard. Even today there is no official confirmation of that launch and much high-level denial. A nuclear launch has been strongly denied by Secretary McNamara, Admiral Martin (now deceased), Admiral Geis (deceased), Admiral Moorer, and Americas skipper, Admiral David Engen (deceased) and others. Yet eyewitness reports persist. Clearly no such launch could have been intended for offensive purposes. Surely nuclear weapons would not have been used in defense of the USS Liberty.

It is clear that I was mistaken about the aircraft involved, as F4s do not carry nuclear weapons. Others tell me that the aircraft that were launched carried Bullpup missiles, which might easily be mistaken for nuclear bombs. And we learned much later that the USS America was involved in a nuclear weapons loading drill at the very time the ship learned of the attack on the Liberty and that this drill is one factor that delayed America’s response to our call for help. It is also possible that those were the weapons seen by our sources.

Also confusing this issue is an oral history report from the American Embassy in Cairo, now in the LBJ Library, which notes that the Embassy received an urgent message from Washington warning that Cairo was about to be bombed by US forces, presumably in mistaken retaliation for the USS Liberty attack. That strange message was never explained or cancelled.[88]

The video also provides hearsay evidence of a covert alliance of U.S. and Israel intelligence agencies.[89]

Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a critic of the official United States Government version of events, chaired a non-governmental investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty in 2003. The committee, which included former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia James E. Akins, held Israel to be culpable and suggested several theories for Israel’s possible motives, including the desire to blame Egypt and bring the U.S. into the Six Day War.[90]

According to John Loftus and Mark Aarons in their book, The Secret War Against the Jews, USS Liberty was attacked because the Israelis knew that Liberty’s mission was to monitor radio signals from Israeli troops and pass troop movement information to the Egyptians.[91][unreliable source?]

Within an hour of learning that the Liberty had been torpedoed, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, LTG Marshall S. Carter, sent a message to all intercept sites requesting a special search of all communications that might reflect the attack or reaction. No communications were available. However, one of the airborne platforms, a U.S. Navy EC-121 aircraft that flew near the attacks from 2:30pm to 3:27pm, Sinai time (1230 to 1327 Z), had collected voice conversations between two Israeli helicopter pilots and the control tower at Hatzor Airfield following the attack on the Liberty.[92]

On 2 July 2003, the NSA released copies of the recordings made by the EC-121 and the resultant translations and summaries.[93] These revelations were elicited as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Florida bankruptcy judge and retired naval aviator Jay Cristol. Two linguists who were aboard the EC-121 when the recordings were made, however, said separately that at least two additional tapes were made that have been excluded from the NSA releases up to and including a 8 June 2007, release.[7]

English transcripts of the released tapes indicate that Israel still spoke of hitting an Egyptian supply ship even after the attack had stopped.[94][95] After the attack, the rescue helicopters are heard relaying several urgent requests that the rescuers ask the first survivor pulled out of the water what his nationality is, and discussing whether the survivors from the attacked ship will speak Arabic.[96]

A summary report of the NSA-translated tapes[97] indicates that at 1234Z Hatzor air control began directing two Israeli Air Force helicopters to an Egyptian warship, to rescue its crew: “This ship has now been identified as Egyptian.” The helicopters arrived near the ship at about 1303Z: “I see a big vessel, near it are three small vessels…” At 1308Z, Hatzor air control indicated concern about the nationality of the ship’s crew: “The first matter to clarify is to find out what their nationality is.” At 1310Z, one of the helicopter pilots asked the nearby torpedo boats’ Division Commander about the meaning of the ship’s hull number: “GTR5 is written on it. Does this mean something?” The response was: “Negative, it doesn’t mean anything.” At 1312Z, one of the helicopter pilots was asked by air control: “Did you clearly identify an American flag?” No answer appears in the transcript, but the air controller then says: “We request that you make another pass and check once more if this is really an American flag.” Again, no response appears in the transcript. At about 1314Z, the helicopters were directed to return home.

The NSA reported that there had been no radio intercepts of the attack made by the Liberty herself, nor had there been any radio intercepts made by the U.S. submarine USSAmberjack.

On 10 October 2003, The Jerusalem Post ran an interview with Yiftah Spector, one of the pilots who participated in the attack,[98] and thought to be the lead pilot of the first wave of aircraft. Spector said the ship was assumed to be Egyptian, stating that: “I circled it twice and it did not fire on me. My assumption was that it was likely to open fire at me and nevertheless I slowed down and I looked and there was positively no flag.” The interview also contains the transcripts of the Israeli communications about the Liberty. The journalist who transcribed the tapes for that article, Arieh O’Sullivan, later confirmed that “the Israeli Air Force tapes he listened to contained blank spaces.”[7]

The Liberty’s survivors contradict Spector. According to subsequently declassified NSA documents: “Every official interview of numerous Liberty crewmen gave consistent evidence that indeed the Liberty was flying an American flagand, further, the weather conditions were ideal to ensure its easy observance and identification.”[99]

On 8 June 2005, the USS Liberty Veterans Association filed a “Report of War Crimes Committed Against the U.S. Military, June 8, 1967” with the Department of Defense (DoD). They say Department of Defense Directive 2311.01E requires the Department of Defense to conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations contained in their report. DoD has responded that a new investigation will not be conducted since a Navy Court of Inquiry already investigated the facts and circumstances surrounding the attack.

As of 2006, the NSA has yet to declassify “boxes and boxes” of Liberty documents. Numerous requests under both declassification directives and the Freedom of Information Act are pending in various agencies including the NSA, Central Intelligence Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency. “On 8 June 2007, the National Security Agency released hundreds of additional declassified documents on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a communications interception vessel, on 8 June 1967.”[100]

On 2 October 2007, The Chicago Tribune published a special report[7] into the attack, containing numerous previously unreported quotes from former military personnel with first-hand knowledge of the incident. Many of these quotes directly contradict the NSA’s position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots, saying that not only did transcripts of those communications exist, but also that it showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

Two diplomatic cables written by Avraham Harman, Israel’s ambassador in Washington, to Abba Eban Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, have been declassified by Israel and obtained from the Israel State Archive. The first cable, sent five days after the attack, informs Eban that a U.S. informant told him (Harman) that there was “clear proof that from a certain stage the pilot discovered the identity of the ship and continued the attack anyway.”[15] The second cable, sent three days later, added that the White House is “very angry” because “the Americans probably have findings showing that our pilots indeed knew that the ship was American.”[7]

Documents of the Israeli General Staff meetings, declassified in October 2008, show no discussion of a planned attack on an American ship.[101]

On 30 October 2014, Al Jazeera English broadcast a documentary film containing recent first-hand accounts by several survivors of the incident.[102]

Many of the events surrounding the attack are the subject of controversy:

We learned that the ship had been attacked in error by Israeli gunboats and aircraft. Ten men of the Liberty crew were killed and a hundred were wounded. This heartbreaking episode grieved the Israelis deeply, as it did us.

Survivors of the attack

Sources other than survivors

Coordinates: 312324N 332248E / 31.3900N 33.3800E / 31.3900; 33.3800

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USS Liberty incident – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015


I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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Libertarianism – RationalWiki

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Jun 202015

Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to ‘get off my property.’ News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

Libertarianism is, at its simplest, the antonym of authoritarianism.[2] The term has been around since the beginning of the 20th century or earlier and was primarily used for self-identification with anarcho-syndicalism and labor movements. In the USA, the term was adopted by the Foundation for Economic Education think tank in the 1950’s[3] to describe a political and social philosophy that advocates laissez-faire capitalism as a panacea for virtually everything. Non-libertarians view this as synonymous with oligarchic plutocracy after the fashion of the American Gilded Age, while the reality-based community tends to realize that one cannot just yank economic theories out of the air and magically expect them to work.

This anti-government phenomenon is found primarily in the United States, likely due to Americans’ extensive experience with dysfunctional government, coupled with their unawareness of the existence of other countries. Historically, and almost everywhere other than America still today, the term has been associated with libertarian socialism and anarchism. The adoption of the libertarian label by advocates of free market economics is an ironic example of their tendency to take credit for other people’s ideas.

The US political party most aligned with libertarianism is the Libertarian Party, “America’s Third Largest Party,”[4] whose candidate obtained 1.3 million, or 0.99% of the popular vote in the 2012 Presidential election.[5] This, compared to 0.32% of the popular vote[6] in the 2004 Presidential election, was considered by many libertarians to be “an improvement.”

There is also an “Objectivist Party,” formed as a spin-off from the Libertarian Party by those who thought that the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Bob Barr, was too left-wing,[7] and a Boston Tea Party (no connection other than ideological to that other tea party) formed as a spin-off by those who thought the Libertarian Party had become too right-wing on foreign policy and civil liberties after the LP deleted much of its platform in 2006.

Basically everyone agrees with libertarians on something, but they tend to get freaked out just as quickly by the ideologys other stances.

The dominant form of libertarianism (as found in the US) is an ideology based largely on Austrian school economics, which relies on axioms, rather than empirical analysis to inform economic and social policy. That said, the branch of libertarianism that has had the most success in influencing public policy is primarily informed by the Chicago school.

Proponents of libertarianism frequently cite the “Non-Aggression Principle” (NAP) as the moral basis of their ideology. The NAP states that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their lives and property, so long as it does not directly interfere with the freedom of others to do the same. Under this rule, you may only use “force” in response to prior inappropriate force against the life and/or property of yourself or others. Compare and contrast with John Stuart Mill’s “The Harm Principle.” The critical difference is that libertarians completely oppose the preemptive use of force. By contrast, Mill and other classical liberals believe that the preemptive use of force to prevent likely future harm can be justified. Under any logical scrutiny it becomes evident that the precise definition of aggression is highly subjective, supposes a strict libertarian view of property,[11] and hence the non-aggression principle can be used in almost any way its user intends, by changing the definition of aggression to suit their particular opinion/agenda. For example throwing someone in prison for massive tax evasion is seen as an act of aggression by the state, whereas selling someone cigarettes knowing they will kill them is not seen as aggression.

Libertarians frequently oppose taxation (as taxes are “theft of property by force”) for anything aside from a small wish list that libertarians like. The main exceptions are civil courts to handle contract disputes (including fraud) and to handle suits of harm (such as dumping of hazardous chemicals on your land; as opposed to dumping hazardous chemicals on public land, which isn’t an issue for libertarians, because every single person who doesn’t own the land and resources to allow for complete self-sufficiency deserves anything bad that happens to them), criminal courts, police, and an army. As one moves down the ideological spectrum towards the extremes, more and more things normally handled by the police and criminal courts are instead handled by civil courts, and eventually even the civil courts are privatized, i.e., anarcho-capitalism. Government, libertarians believe, is the biggest (and possibly the only) threat to freedom.

Specifically, libertarians are against the use of taxes to deal with externalities, commons, or free rider problems. The frequent answers to these problems involve the extensive use of civil suits to deal with (negative) externalities, and the privatization of all commons, which allows for civil suits to handle harms to this shared “private” property. Of course, these answers are woefully inadequate in practice.[12]

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Libertarianism – RationalWiki

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