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February 03, 2006

Comments

None of the blog owners rebuked Phil

Errr, actually, they did right here, but I guess you didn't notice, which is unsurprising. Perhaps if he had capitalized "warning", you might not have missed it.

lj,

Actually, that rebuke, at February 05, 2006 at 10:46 AM, was in response to Phils' comment to Windle made at February 05, 2006 at 07:15 AM. Phil insulted me here (atFebruary 05, 2006 at 12:42 PM).

Perhaps if he had capitalized "warning", you might not have missed it.

Yes, yes. I get it. I am retarded. Thanks.

Bye Kossaks!

"Aw, poookie, why so mad?"

Not mad in the slightest. I only get mad at people I give the faintest damn about. (Like LJ! Or Charles! ;-))

You might want to spell that "pookie," though.

"Bye Kossaks!"

Not a blog I read. But don't let the door, etc.

LJ: "...but another part is, I think, to look at the rhetoric and framing that goes on here, so that more discussion about the content occurs here."

Yeah, I get that. And also a place for Jack, you, and DaveC, and possibly anyone else added in the future, to have a blog. I wasn't trying to list all the other reasons I understood. But you are simply mentioning another part, I understand, and now I say I understand, and we're all clear, and it's all puppies and kittens and flowers, I hope, until the next silliness.

You might want to spell that "pookie," though.

Gary, I think Stan was trying to imitate the way adults often talk to toddlers. "Does Stannie Wannie want me to tell mean ole Phillie Willie off?" sort of thing. I've never understood why people do this with children, so I'm not sure why it would be effective in this context, but perhaps it works at the blogs Stan visits.

"Gary, I think Stan was trying to imitate the way adults often talk to toddlers."

Obviously. It's still "pookie," not "poookie." Not many three-voweled words in English, so far as I'm aware.

"...so I'm not sure why it would be effective in this context...."

It's a trolling technique. It's suppose to make you mad. That's what trolls try to do, as part of the whole "I want attention!" fundamental of trolling. Yawn.

I forgot to ask earlier, so I'll toss it into this comment, that before I complete letting go of our previous silliness, I would appreciate a direct affirmation of my 10:04 p.m.: "...assuming this never happens again." I'm afraid I'm big on clarity. Thanks, and then that's all done.

Also, I hope I was temperate; positive reinforcement, I hear, is better than negative reinforcement for training purposes, not that I expect or need much indulging; I'm just saying at least once. (Similarly, I hope I was temperate in my frustrated comment on the "Civil Liberty Infringement Engines" post; but you can respond to all this, save for the "pookie" stuff, on IHCB, and I'll read it there, I suggest, since that's doubtless a more appropriate venue).

"...assuming this never happens again."

This is impolite in my book, jftr - probably the first time, definitely the second.

"This is impolite in my book, jftr - probably the first time, definitely the second."

Noted.

GF (above): And I'm a huge fan of William Manchester (when he's not writing about Kennedys, where he grows hagiographic); I heartily recommend "Goodbye, Darkness" as one of the best first-person accounts of being a Marine grunt in the Pacific in WWII to all, and his biography of MacArthur, "American Caesar" is outstandingly superb.

FWIW, American Caesar got savaged by experts in Asian history - I think in The Journal of Asian Studies, among others - when it came out. Reviewers admitted that Manchester wrote well, but for historical research and accuracy they much preferred the more pedestrian, but more reliable, D. Clayton James, The Years of MacArthur.

As always, YMMV.

"...assuming this never happens again." I'm afraid I'm big on clarity. Thanks, and then that's all done.

Apologies, this got pushed down and I only noticed it when dr ngo posted. The answer is yes (assuming that the question is 'and you won't do this again?'), and I would note for the record that I generally take an apology to mean "And given the same set of circumstances, I will not do this again". I've always thought that someone has a much further cause for complaint if, after an apology, the same behavior is manifest, but I now wonder if this is some idiosyncrasy of mine rather than a general understanding.

"FWIW, American Caesar got savaged by experts in Asian history...."

Well, I didn't say it was the only book people should read on MacArthur. :-)

If you have a pointer to a good critical article taking it down, I'd read it with interest.

I've read a variety of other MacArthur bios, but I don't think I've read D. Clayton James. I'll try to keep an eye out for it.

Is there a nutshell in-a-paragraph-or-so summary you might be able to give as to the most notable flaws of the Manchester?

Alas, no. If I had my full run of JAS to hand, I'd try to track down at least that original review, but they're all still in boxes, 18 months after we moved into this house. My vague recollection is that it was mostly trivial nit-picking of the kind that we academics are prone to - this event was in August, not September; the addressee of the telegram was Col. X, not General Y, &c. - and some of it might be attributed to the reflexive sniping of a historian at a mere journalist daring to write history, and (worse) actually making money doing it! But I really don't remember the details. Sorry.

Gary:
You might, however, include "libel," as well as "slander," and also trade secrets, proprietary information, and a few other categories of speech subject to law, if you're listing them. And, of course, I'm not mentioning America as in any way suggesting that Canada, Australia, Europe, and other countries don't have equally valid and somewhat different laws and approaches to free speech. I'm just noting some exceptions to your generalization, which obviously wasn't intended to be detailed and inclusive; this is not a criticism, but a supplement to what you wrote.

If I mention a few items in a row and add "etc." to that list, it is safe to assume that there are more items that could be on the list. It was more to give a general idea.

Also, if I say "we" you can always be certain that I do not refer to just America. Me not being American and not living in America would make that impossible :).In this case I ment "we discussing this here, who have freedom of the press" and I thought that was clear from the context.

I find comments difficult to read if everything has to be utterly defined but how far one goes in those definitions is a judgement call. So sometimes you might need to ask for more clarifications if you want to be sure.

The article you linked to is interesting, though it does not convince me entirely. I liked this quote best:""After all," said Shahine, "we'd rather have the Danes apologising out of conviction, rather than because they feel threatened."". If the sunni moslim world had shamed the Danes instead of threatening them, the reactions would have been quite different - but it would not have created a common enemy.

I also think the comment about how the coalition is stretched thin is interesting. Denmark has been one of the most faithfull US allies these last few years. Both in official support (money, troops) as in popular support. What is the effect of the fact that the US and UK very publically decided to not back them up?

"...but they're all still in boxes, 18 months after we moved into this house."

No problem, I understand completely. Been there, done that, many times.

"...My vague recollection is that it was mostly trivial nit-picking of the kind that we academics are prone to - this event was in August, not September; the addressee of the telegram was Col. X, not General Y, &c...."

Oh, well, if it's only that level of thing, that I can't say I'd do more than say "interesting, noted," and not care much more. I thought you meant that it was suggested that he got important details or interpretations wrong. Getting the details right is certainly important, but not nearly as important as getting the larger stuff right.

Dutchmarbel: "If I mention a few items in a row and add "etc." to that list, it is safe to assume that there are more items that could be on the list."

Yes, indeed. I was merely mentioning a few.

"Also, if I say 'we' you can always be certain that I do not refer to just America."

I never had any other idea. Or to perhaps put it more clearly: I understood that.

"In this case I ment "we discussing this here, who have freedom of the press" and I thought that was clear from the context.'

It was.

"What is the effect of the fact that the US and UK very publically decided to not back them up?"

I'm not at all clear what you are referring to. From the U.S., the State Department statement?

In any case, I'm off to sleep now.

I'm entirely content to let Charles, Sebastian, and Slart, speak up to say what they think of you and Windle's comments, how they'd characterize your approach, and which of you two folks's comments they do and do not agree with. Perhaps they agree with your implication that you all stand undivided; perhaps not. Perhaps they'd prefer not to address the issue and perhaps they'd prefer that you not have put them on the spot. But you have, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Perhaps some of them are dismayed by behavior all around, but are otherwise too busy to drop by for individual admonishments. Please cut it out, folks; attack the points all you wish, but refrain from attacking the person. Bad behavior all around, including you, Gary. Stan has already effectively banished himself, if we take him at his word. I swear, we never see things like this even on the abortion threads. I'd be quite disappointed if I had to view another exchange discussing who belongs in the "retarded pile" again.

As far as my personal POV in this matter is concerned:

a) In this place and time in the Western Hemisphere, at least, the death penalty for insult is considered unacceptable. Whether it's wise to provoke those who are otherwise inclined is another matter entirely.

b) There's more than a little daylight between dictated and guided that Phil might want to take some time out and consider. Just a suggestion.

There's more, but I don't think any of it will get fair play in this particular thread. Given the history, at least.

Given that I've used neither the word "guided" nor the word "dictated" in the thread, Slarti, I'll take that recommendation under all the advisement it deserves.

I'm still waiting for either Sebastian -- or, hey, you, if you want to take a stab -- to make a cogent argument that our common culture is not broadly controlled (in the sense of having a strong guiding influence over) by internalized Christian taboos and mores, that we haven't, as he put, let people's irrational religious beliefs influence what we can and can't say. (Might I remind people that within the last decade a man was put on trial for saying "F***" within earshot of a child in Michigan.)

It's nice to pretend that we here in the enlightened West are over all that, but it ain't nohow true.

Apologies for getting the verb tense wrong, Phil. And no, I'm not going to make any sort of stab at your topic until you stop using "dictate" and "controlled" and "guiding" (see, I got all the tenses exactly right this time) as if they are even close to interchangeable.

And y'know, maybe not even then. It sounds as if you want us to explain to you how laws in the United States are NOT shaped in any way by religious beliefs, and that's not a debating point I care to take.

"I'd be quite disappointed if I had to view another exchange discussing who belongs in the 'retarded pile' again."

I'm unclear why this follows use of my name, as such words never came from, or were used by, me.

I'm unclear why this follows use of my name, as such words never came from, or were used by, me.

I'm confused about why you think I was talking about you in particular, Gary, simply because your name was mentioned a few sentences prior. But to relieve your confusion: "retarded pile" had nothing to do with you.

It sounds as if you want us to explain to you how laws in the United States are NOT shaped in any way by religious beliefs, and that's not a debating point I care to take.

What does "what we can and can't talk about," in terms of US broadcast and print media, have to do with "laws in the United States." "Can" and "can't" are shaped by more than laws, after all.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that "irrational religious beliefs" (where the whole concept of "profanity" comes from) are very nearly the single largest guiding -- and, yes, dictating -- influence on what goes over the airwaves and what rolls off the presses in this country. Or, more importantly, on what doesn't. Hence, the NFL and ABC censoring the words "come" and "cock."

Slarti: It sounds as if you want us to explain to you how laws in the United States are NOT shaped in any way by religious beliefs, and that's not a debating point I care to take.

Who would?

If you're arguing that mores in this country are shaped by religion, Phil, who are you arguing against?

Those who want free speech to be choked off by religious mores?

Your link has somehow been blocked because of the subject matter, Jesurgislac.

Ok, just kidding. I don't think this proves what you seem to think it does. This isn't a constraint on speech, it's a policy constraint. You are free to discuss it to your heart's content. Do you see no difference between policy and speech?

Do you see no difference between policy and speech?

The US has an official policy, imposed by the religious right, of restricting free speech. The restrictions on free speech have a lethal effect. That was my point, Slarti.

The US has an official policy, imposed by the religious right, of restricting free speech.

Ok, now please tell me whose speech is being constrained? Certainly not yours.

"Ok, now please tell me whose speech is being constrained? Certainly not yours."

That's perfectly obvious from her link: people, U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens alike, around the world who accept U.S. government aid for health clinics.

It's pretty difficult to imagine you clicked on her link and read even the first sentence, and didn't understand it, although I guess it could have happened, somehow.

Um, feel free to explain what was unclear to you about her link, Slart.

Um, feel free to explain what was unclear to you about her link, Slart.

Everything, Gary. The article was clear, but the claim was...not well supported, to be polite.

That's perfectly obvious from her link: people, U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens alike, around the world who accept U.S. government aid for health clinics.

And they're constrained from speaking in what way, exactly? Does free speech mean that no one can alter their actions in the least bit, as a response to what's being said? If so, I'm feeling suppressed.

Free speech is different from the right to do absolutely anything you want and still get subsidized.

Sebastian: Free speech is different from the right to do absolutely anything you want and still get subsidized.

The global gag rule is called the global gag rule because it restricts free speech, Sebastian.

The US government chooses not to subsidize safe legal abortion for women who need it. That has nothing to do with free speech.

Refusing to provide support for health clinics unless the health clinic workers agree neither to tell women where they can safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy, nor to tell legislators or the media about the dangers of illegal abortion - that's a religiously-inspired restriction on free speech, that has had lethal consequences.

Yet you've never written anything in opposition to the global gag rule. You could of course have argued that no blogger can write about everything, but do I take it from your comment that in fact you're in favor of religious restrictions on free speech, imposed with US government funding?

"The US government chooses not to subsidize safe legal abortion for women who need it. That has nothing to do with free speech."

Unless you posit a world-wide right to US subsidies, the rest of your comment makes no logical sense. Do you in fact posit such a right?

"Refusing to provide support for health clinics unless the health clinic workers agree neither to tell women where they can safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy, nor to tell legislators or the media about the dangers of illegal abortion - that's a religiously-inspired restriction on free speech, that has had lethal consequences."

Y'know, pretending that Slart and Sebastian don't have a technically accurate point in noting that no one's speech is restricted if they choose to turn down the money isn't useful. It just lets them hit you over the head with the fact that you're ignoring their argument, rather than acknowledging it and responding as to what's important.

A better rhetorical and substantive response, I suggest, is to acknowledge the technical point being made, and to then proceed to what's truly important, which is that "an estimated 600,000 women die of pregnancy-related causes, of which the World Health Organization attributes close to 80,000 to unsafe abortion – 219 every day – nine each hour" and that we have it in our power to stop much of that, and let many, perhaps most, of those women live, if we can get past arguing about whether a donor has the right to put restrictions on the use of their donations, and whether or not that is a restriction on absolute free speech or not.

"...that's a religiously-inspired restriction on free speech, that has had lethal consequences."

Technically, they are correct that it is not. It's besides the point. Move on to what's important. Don't let your interlocuter(s) define the grounds of the argument.

Just a suggestion.

"Unless you posit a world-wide right to US subsidies, the rest of your comment makes no logical sense. Do you in fact posit such a right?"

See, Jes, this is correct. You don't want to be caught up arguing this when it's irrelevant to the point you want, I think -- I could be wrong -- to be making about the global gag rule killing women.

You're welcome.

Slart: "Ok, now please tell me whose speech is being constrained? Certainly not yours."

I responded: "That's perfectly obvious from her link: people, U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens alike, around the world who accept U.S. government aid for health clinics."

Slart responds: "The article was clear, but the claim was...not well supported, to be polite."

And: "And they're constrained from speaking in what way, exactly?"

By having the donated money withdrawn. Note the conditions of what I said that you are responding to, please.

I said something different from what Jes said. The same rhetorical gambit in response fails, I suggest.

Going back to definitions of "free speech" also will fail in address what I wrote. I didn't address "free speech." I answered your questions, instead.

And to anticipate a bit more: a financial lever is certainly a constraint. "Constraint" doesn't mean "you have no choice." A "constraint" is a restriction, not an absolute control.

If they would like to perform abortions and receive money from outsiders, they can seek non-US sources, correct? Since European countries are famously less worried about abortion that should be no problem. Unless of course European countries are a bit more tight-fisted with their money--that could be a problem. But then Jesurgislac would say things like "France's lack of charity is killing KILLING thousands of women"

Which leads us directly back to the world-wide right to subsidies issue. That world-wide right to subsidies problem isn't as easy to escape as you think.

Phil, in response to:

I'm still waiting for either Sebastian -- or, hey, you, if you want to take a stab -- to make a cogent argument that our common culture is not broadly controlled (in the sense of having a strong guiding influence over) by internalized Christian taboos and mores, that we haven't, as he put, let people's irrational religious beliefs influence what we can and can't say.

The problem is that you are using the word 'controlled' in one sense for Western culture and a completely different sense for Muslim extremists. In my recent post on the subject I said that I didn't have any problem with people's moral sense being influenced by religion. That is a perfectly unsurprising thing for religion to do. Violently demanding that your views on blasphemy be respected by every single person in the world at all times is a rather different version of control.

I don't get it. The US can decide to run program P in country Q. Having done so, can they tell employee R not to use the letter S? Or not to mention Jesus, or the local religion's deity? Or John Kerry? Or vitamin C?

Somewhere there's a transition from prohibiting speech that encourages say genocidal hatred and speech that encourages good nutrition or speech that's iambic, isn't there?

Sebastian: If they would like to perform abortions and receive money from outsiders, they can seek non-US sources, correct?

Are you deliberately ignoring my point?

If they would like to be able to speak freely to their clients, or to speak freely to their nation's legislators or media, they must seek money from non-US sources.

If they accept money from the US for their health clinics, they accept with the money a religiously-inspired restriction on their freedom of speech. That is the global gag rule. Do you approve of this restriction on freedom of speech, or not?

If this is a free country, why is everything so expensive?

"Which leads us directly back to the world-wide right to subsidies issue. That world-wide right to subsidies problem isn't as easy to escape as you think."

Sure it is. All you have to do is avoid positing such a right, and point, instead, to the moral failure of not being a Good Samaritan, to put it in Christian terms. WWJD?

If I won't give money to you unless you dye your hair blond, that isn't a restriction on hair color. That is a precondition I put on giving you money. If you have an objection to having blond hair which outweighs your objection to getting money from me, that still isn't a restriction on hair color. Whether or not that analogy holds for interactions between governments and their own citizens is a subject of some debate. But it certainly holds for all other types of giving--such as the one you raise. People weigh the pros and cons of choices every single day. If a foreign hospital wants to accept aid from the US government (note I do not say from all possible sources in the US) it must choose not to engage in helping with abortions. If it thinks abortions are super-important, it can turn down US government aid. People make choices like that every day. People weigh options every day. I bet you do so in the store when you have limited funds and have to weigh your desires against your means and then choose to make only some of the purchases you desire. Unless you posit an international and unconditional right to US funds it doesn't make sense to complain about getting US funds with conditions.

I don't really care what Jesus would do, but I think funding abortions is more of a moral failing than not funding them. Now if you want to point me to non-abortion methods of alleviating childbirth injury, feel free and appeal to my moral understanding on that basis, feel free. Otherwise you are going to have to come up with a much stronger argument.

Funds could always be spent some way other than how they are actually spent.

Sheesh, I need to preview. Or get sleep or something.

Sebastian: If I won't give money to you unless you dye your hair blond, that isn't a restriction on hair color. That is a precondition I put on giving you money.

Plainly, however, it is a restriction on hair color that you wish to impose, even if the person on whom you wish to impose it can escape your restriction by simply refusing your money.

People weigh the pros and cons of choices every single day. If a foreign hospital wants to accept aid from the US government (note I do not say from all possible sources in the US) it must choose not to engage in helping with abortions.

You are again ignoring my point. If a foreign hospital wants to accept aid from the US government, no employee at that hospital is then allowed to tell any patient where safe abortions are available - a restriction of freedom of speech from doctor to patient: nor are they allowed to speak to their legislators or to the media about the dangers of illegal abortion - a restriction on public freedom of speech.

My question again is: Do you approve of this restriction on free speech?

Sebastian: but I think funding abortions is more of a moral failing than not funding them.

But my question - which you are persistently ignoring - is not about funding abortions. I am asking you about the restriction on free speech.

But, like, I already have blonde hair...

Well, hilzoy, the money is yours! Kind of like the philosophy of this admin's tax cuts, eh?

Sebastian, I don't have any objection to getting money from you. A good motto is, "when they're throwing money out the window, stand outside the window."

Yes, get some sleep. Good night.

"If it thinks abortions are super-important, it can turn down US government aid."

Sebastian, just tangentially: is there an exception to allowing speech strictly in cases of abortions strictly to save the life of the mother in the U.S global gag rule?

If there isn't, would you support such an exception?

As I said, this is a tangential question, and not at all about the issue of "free speech." It's purely a tangential question about your stance on the GGR.

Jes says: "My question again is: Do you approve of this restriction on free speech?"

Have you considered asking Sebastian that question with the last three words misising? Which is your primary concern here? The GGR, or defining "free speech"?

"But my question - which you are persistently ignoring - is not about funding abortions. I am asking you about the restriction on free speech."

Perhaps this answers my question.

"Free speech" and "Strings-free monetary handouts" are different things.

If I offered to give you $100,000,000 to build a hospital and you wanted to spend it on lottery tickets, my saying that I wouldn't give you the money if you spent it on lottery tickets is NOT a restriction on your right to buy lottery tickets. It is a restriction on the gift of money.

If had $5000 to give to a human rights group, but I wouldn't give to one that made the death penalty in Western countries a focus of their attention, that isn't a restriction on their right to focus on the death penalty. That just means that I won't give money to them. If I am their largest donor and I make that known they can choose between getting the money they want from their largest donor or opposing the death penalty. That isn't a restriction on their ability to oppose the death penalty. It just makes it so that they can't oppose the death penalty AND get my money. Charities deal with the wishes of their largest donors all the time.

If the US refused to give money to doctors who performed female 'circumcisions' or those who told where to have their daughters mutilated that wouldn't be a restriction on the 'right' remove their daughter's ability to receive certain forms of sexual pleasure. It would be a restriction on the given money.

SH, I don't understand why you're talking about doctors performing procedures which the US has a consensus against, and laws against (anyway I think a more interesting case would be male circumcision if you want to argue procedure, or some other procedure which is legal here). What about the speech acts I asked about?

In this case the speech acts are directly related to the medical acts which are not to be performed under the terms of the funding. It isn't as if the US government is making a condition of the funding that the doctor cannot perform medical act A and cannot use the word 'flag'. It is that the doctor cannot perform medical act A with the money nor can he get around the prohibition by refering you to another clinic that he may or may not have a financial interest in.

Of course this all presumes that there are sting operations going on. It isn't as if cheating on the gag rule is going to come to anyone's attention unless you are running pretty large abortion services. And if you are doing that, get funding from someone else.

"that he may or may not have a financial interest in"

which is relevant why? I take it you'd feel differently if the doctor's financial indifference could be certified?

It seems extremely odd to me that the govt can prohibit doctors from performing procedures out of the country which the govt pays doctors to perform here (e.g. Medicaid pays for abortions for various reasons). Well, more than odd.

"It seems extremely odd to me that the govt can prohibit doctors from performing procedures out of the country which the govt pays doctors to perform here"

They can't. They just don't have to give money to them.

It seems extremely odd to me that the govt doesn't have to give money to doctors who fit their qualifications for working in foreign countries except for being black while instead giving money to white doctors. Not ethnic discrimination - there's nothing saying they have to give money to black doctors.

Also I take it the govt can gag doctors working in public US hospitals without free speech issues arising, since working for a public hospital isn't a right?

Sebastian: It isn't as if the US government is making a condition of the funding that the doctor cannot perform medical act A and cannot use the word 'flag'.

Actually, that's exactly what the condition on the funding is. My question is, do you approve of this religiously-inspired restriction on free speech?

It is that the doctor cannot perform medical act A with the money nor can he get around the prohibition by refering you to another clinic that he may or may not have a financial interest in.

No one at the hospital can direct women to any clinic where a woman can get a safe abortion. (Your gloss that the doctor may have "a financial interest" in another clinic is kind of strange: these restrictions apply to non-profit bodies, charities and NGOs, far more than they do to private profit-making hospitals, and the restriction on free speech applies to all staff at the hospital, not only the doctors.

Further - a point you still ignore - it applies also to the right to speak freely to legislators and the media. My question is, do you approve of this religiously-inspired restriction on free speech?

It isn't as if cheating on the gag rule is going to come to anyone's attention

Since the gag rule also prohibits speaking to legislators or to the media, yes, cheating on the gag rule will come to the attention of the US government.

unless you are running pretty large abortion services.

Not relevant either, Sebastian. I didn't ask you if you thought it was possible to get around this religiously-inspired restriction on free speech. I asked you if you approved of it.

"It seems extremely odd to me that the govt doesn't have to give money to doctors who fit their qualifications for working in foreign countries except for being black while instead giving money to white doctors."

I'm quite unclear whether it would violate case law or statute to discriminate by race (or any other prohibited category) against non-U.S. foreign citizens residing outside U.S. legal jurisdiction; it's an interesting question, though not one likely to arise other than as a hypothetical, I'd think.

I'm somewhat vague as to whether it would be illegal to discriminate by race, or other prohibited category, against a U.S. citizen residing outside U.S. jurisdiction, in another country, although my first guess is that it probably would be illegal. But that's just a guess, and I have no idea if it's correct without looking into it, which I don't intend to do. I'd be curious as to what any of our U.S. lawyers here have to say when they wake up.

"Also I take it the govt can gag doctors working in public US hospitals without free speech issues arising, since working for a public hospital isn't a right?"

That's a lot more complicated, because of the considerable number of other issues that clearly arise. IANAL, but a simple answer might -- and I might be all wrong, as I'm basically just taking a stab at guessing for now, which isn't terribly wise of me -- that all other things being the same, it would be legal, but that in practice, all other things are unlikely to be the same.

I'm also taking "gag doctors working in public US hospitals without free speech issues arising" to mean "require doctors to abide by given conditions/restrictions, including on speech during the professional performance of their job while on duty, if said employment is subject to agreeing to such restrictions by signing their job agreement."

I'd think, all other things, that that would be legal. Why not? Of course, it's late, and I shouldn't be responding to complicated questions, since I could easily be missing an important aspect just now.

Offhand, that would seem to be legal and Constitutional if the restriction didn't violate the Constitution in some other fashion, such as, say, requiring in the contract that one discriminate against patients on the basis of race, religion, etc.

You seem to find Sebastian's statements of fact and law puzzling, although I don't know why.

"Not ethnic discrimination - there's nothing saying they have to give money to black doctors."

I don't understand the meaning of this sentence fragment. As ever, maybe that's just me. Or that it's late.

...and cannot use the word 'flag'.

Actually, that's exactly what the condition on the funding is.

There's a prohibition in U.S. lawag ainst using the word "flag"?

Maybe the word "exactly" has changed meaning since I last looked. Or has a different, unknown to me, usage in British English than in American English. Is this like watching someone's head "literally explode," meaning "metaphorically explode"? "Exactly" means "analogically"?

"My question is, do you approve of this religiously-inspired restriction on free speech?"

I'm going to have to give up agreeing with Sebastian that this is not a restriction on "free speech," but a restriction on terms of employment or on terms of receiving a grant, since you're clearly determined to ignore the point. And you are clearly, apparently, determined to argue definitions of "free speech" as a priority over arguing the justice of the GGR and the cause of saving women's lives.

Oh, well.

Speaking to Sebastian's idea that saying "we won't give you money unless you refrain from saying what we don't want you to say" is not a restriction on free speech, what of this? Same deal?

"Same deal?"

It's bullying. Bullying is nasty, but it's not a governmental or legal restriction on free speech. You can quit your job and speak freely. Ask Paul O'Neil, for example, oread his book.

But if your boss says "follow these rules or you're fired," that choice is yours.

religiously-inspired restriction on free speech

Jes, are you objecting to the restriction on speech per se, or to particular sort of speech that's being restricted? If the US were funding infant care clinics in China and had a rule that no money would be given to clinics who participated in the infanticide of baby girls, or told parents about other options for getting rid of their baby girl, or lobbied to make such infanticide legal, would you be similarly outraged at this "restriction of free speech"?

Anyway, I think it would be helpful to reserve the term "free speech" to contexts where one is subject to criminal penalties for one's speech, or is forcibly silenced. Financial disincentives for undesired speech are perfectly ordinary, and I don't see why the US gov't should be any less entitled to attach conditions to its money than any private organization.

By having the donated money withdrawn. Note the conditions of what I said that you are responding to, please.

Unresponsive. This doesn't infringe on their right to speak at all. It does place a one-time consequence (I'm not convinced this is true, but I'll stipulate it for the purposes of discussion) on certain activities, but if the point is that speech should never have any consequences, I'm definitely in the wrong conversation. I'd also point out that you've (apparently, anyway) argued the other side of this issue sometime in the last week; when I get time I'll link to it.

Of course, it's probably best when referring to free speech issues exactly what one is talking about. Are we talking Constitutionality, or something else? Does free speech mean that I ought to be able to divulge corporate intellectual property, or classified information? Probably some frameworking is in order; maybe even some of that has been done since your reply. I'm catching up right now.

Y'know, pretending that Slart and Sebastian don't have a technically accurate point in noting that no one's speech is restricted if they choose to turn down the money isn't useful. It just lets them hit you over the head with the fact that you're ignoring their argument, rather than acknowledging it and responding as to what's important.

Thanks, Gary. This is completely at odds with your previous remarks, but consistency, hobgoblins, etc.

I think the discussion-worthiness of this topic exists even without attaching it to free-speech issues; in fact I see attempts to link it that way as a distraction, as well as being completely inaccurate.

Don't let your interlocuter(s) define the grounds of the argument.

The extent to which I'm an interlocuter in this matter is defined solely by the free-speech infringement claim, which I completely disagree with. Whether the US government ought to tie strings of morality to foreign aid is of course a worthy topic. We do that anyway, I claim, by requiring that aid be spent in areas that we specify. Is this a legitimate extension of restrictions on how aid money can be spent, or no? I'm guessing Jesurgislac is opining no; I'm open to discussion in the matter.

"Don't let your interlocuter(s) define the grounds of the argument."

The thing is that Jesurgislac defined the terms. She wants to use the "gag rule" as something to illustrate something about free speech inconsistency regarding getting worked up about the cartoons. So far as I can see, she doesn't have a leg to stand on in that regard.

OK, getting serious now. It seems to me something is missing from this discussion.

When two parties make a contract, exchanging money for some outcome, it is perfectly legitimate for the paying party to insist on conditions. If the parties agree, we generally think that the contract was freely entered into.

When an individual gives money to a charity, in general no strings are attached. The individual has decided that the charity is a worthy cause and simply donates. The charity is free to spend the money without conditions.

There are gray areas of course. One that comes to mind is a large bequest to an institution, where a will may specify conditions. But I think the main recourse if the institution fails to comply with conditions is to withhold further money ... money that was spent is gone.

Is U.S. funding of a program in a foreign country more like a contract or a donation? Again, we're probably in a gray area. But if we attach conditions let's not pretend that it's pure charity.

The consequences of not funding some of these programs are stark. People will probably die as a result. So if we claim this is charity and stop the funding, we have decided that the cause is no longer worthy despite that fact.

In my mind, attaching conditions amounts to imposing our will on otherwise independent people. I think the analogy of a job where you can just quit and go elsewhere is strained at best.

The free speech argument is perhaps a bit of a red herring, but I think it is relevant. This is not a relationship between equals. People living in abject poverty do not have much leverage in negotiation. It's not a stretch to say that if we use our far superior power to coerce them we are infringing on their rights.

"I'd also point out that you've (apparently, anyway) argued the other side of this issue sometime in the last week; when I get time I'll link to it."

And: "Thanks, Gary. This is completely at odds with your previous remarks, but consistency, hobgoblins, etc."

Sure. I'll happily point out what's wrong with either side of an argument, or what's right about either side of an argument, and I'll happily try to strengthen both arguments, if I think someone on either side is missing an important point, or doing a bad job on their side.

I'd rather see a profitable debate, where maybe everyone, but I'd hope at least someone, learns something from it, than a debate made on lousy premises or on lousy logic "win," since nothing is actually learned by anyone from that, save that you can win an argument with a bad case, or even when you're wrong, and I don't like to see people learn that lesson.

I'm just all funny about this sort of thing. This is also why I always say I'm more interested in an interesting disgreement than in talking with someone who agrees with my conclusion, but in an embarassing or illogical or stupid way; that does me no good at all....

Having my ideas well challenged, whether by facts or logic or both, on the other hand, may teach me something, tell me facts I should know, and at least help me strengthen my argument for the future, or maybe even change my mind!

I'm just a cock-eyed optimist, or something. This also doesn't help me be a "team player," and it gets me frequent comments that I'm a "contrarian." I manage to live with such a dread charge. Somehow.

"She wants to use the "gag rule" as something to illustrate something about free speech inconsistency regarding getting worked up about the cartoons. So far as I can see, she doesn't have a leg to stand on in that regard."

Probably not, but we'll see.

I may not make much sense this morning, anyway, since I wound up watching BSG "Flight of the Phoenix" from around 1:40 a.m. until about 3 a.m., and then "Pegasus" until about 4:35 a.m., and then finally going to bed, loaded with two Ambien and a bunch of melatonin, around 4:50 a.m., then getting up around 8:10 a.m., running an intravenous coffee line, but I'm still working with a head of solid mud, which is throbbing painfully. So this may not be a day with much output from me -- certainly won't be for a few hours, if it all, and what comes may also be clear as mud, when I risk it. You Are Warned. Whoever you are. What's my name again? Yawn. (It's now 9:34 a.m. Rocky Mountain time, here.) Yawn. Which blog is this? How do I spell "is"?

"When an individual gives money to a charity, in general no strings are attached."

This is seriously not so. Strings and restrictions are done all the time. "I'm donating for your program in Ethiopia, and the money is just for that program, and not an open donation." Many charities will point out that targeted donations is one of their biggest problems in terms of lack of flexibility.

And you certainly don't have to be dead to be donating on that premise. Look into the issue, I suggest.

Gary, that is a quibble. You choose a charity and give money. If the charity has a way to earmark the money, fine, but you have no real recourse once you sign the check. It's only big money that really gets to attach strings.

My point is, attaching strings is an exercise of power.

"If the charity has a way to earmark the money, fine, but you have no real recourse once you sign the check. It's only big money that really gets to attach strings."

This just isn't true. Targeted donations, and targeted solitications, is one of the largest complaints most international charities have had for years. If I were more away, I'd point you at a dozen articles from the last couple of years on it; but you can go google for yourself, and see.

"If I were more away"

should be "If I were more awake."

See what I mean?

When you wake up, please suggest a good search word. "targeted donations" plus complain or plus recourse doesn't work very well. I'm sure you have a point but it is, I think, tangential.

Yes, indeed, it is as Gary says. Recall the post-9/11 controversy at the American Red Cross when people who assumed their donations were being used for 9/11 victims (of whom there were regretably few who required Red Cross assistance) found out the money was going to the general disaster relief fund. They're still recovering from that snafu, and "donor intent" is now the name of the game.

"You choose a charity and give money. If the charity has a way to earmark the money, fine, but you have no real recourse once you sign the check."

And if you don't like what they do with it, you don't sign the next check.

Not signing the next check isn't a restriction on free speech.

Telling them why you aren't signing the next check isn't a restriction on free speech. In fact it is a good thing to do because they can then decide if their policy which is causing you to not write the next check is worth not getting the next check.

On a lighter note, Stop cartoon violence - Bush.

Lately the headlines make me think of Wyle E. Coyote. Should we embargo Acme products?

NASA telling you that they won't sign your paycheck if you go to a Wes Clark rally or talk about it at lunch isn't a restriction on free speech? A ban on gay marriage doesn't infringe gays' rights - they can, like anyone, marry someone of the opposite sex?

Sampe article on problems of targeted giving.

NASA telling you that they won't sign your paycheck if you go to a Wes Clark rally or talk about it at lunch isn't a restriction on free speech?

I don't think a private employer can do that either, can they? My offhand, ill-informed opinion is that as long as the gov't isn't using its police power, it should be able to behave like a private organization.

Here:

Contributions reached a record $231 million even though the number of givers to the campaign, 69,600, was the lowest in recent memory. Last year there were 71,600 donors, down from 79,000 the previous year.

Of the money raised, $140 million was donated to the unrestricted annual campaign — an increase of nearly $9 million from two years ago.

The increasing support for that campaign comes at a time when other federated campaigns are reporting that more and more donors are seeking to designate their money for specific projects, said Morris Offit, the organization’s president.

But UJA-Federation of New York has not been similarly affected because it has developed a set of strategies that include “strongly advocating for the unrestricted campaign as an expression of collective Jewish responsibility,” according to John Ruskay, the group’s executive vice president and CEO.

“We make it clear in everything we do, and by undertaking what we call dramatic, high-impact initiatives which can illustrate the power of the Federation to respond to emerging issues,” he said.

Ruskay cited such initiatives as the new Jewish Hospice Residence in the Bronx, the help provided to bring Jews of Ethiopian heritage to Israel, and assistance to needy Jews in Israel and Argentina as efforts “designed to deepen the appreciation for Federation.”

“The results of the campaign reflect an endorsement of our leadership and that increasing numbers of our largest donors are hearing that message,” Ruskay said.

See also particularly here. Will this do for starters? I've got other things I need to be doing.

"NASA telling you that they won't sign your paycheck if you go to a Wes Clark rally or talk about it at lunch isn't a restriction on free speech?"

It might be, since they're a government agency, not a private business, and different rules apply. Such a requirement might be possible if it were directed by statute, and weren't otherwise in contravention of the Constitution, and a court agree. I can't see that an agency could simply make up such a rule on their own, absent specific Congressional authority.

None of this should be a great mystery; what do you find so puzzling?

"Wyle E. Coyote."

I say, I say, I say, that's Wile E. Coyote," son, and don'tchu forget it!

Sebastian, at the individual level I agree. But when the amounts get large and the problem is desperate, I think it is legitimate to consider whether the exercise of a donor's power infringes on rights. That is not my primary consideration, though. More important to me is the practical result.

Gary,

"We try to remain true to what someone intends," says Rick Leach, of U.S. Friends of the World Food Program. "It's difficult in smaller sums, and virtually impossible with regard to a specific individual. You have to put in place all the same tracking systems to get $50 to a specific target operation as you do $10 million."

The practical result is that this targeting of an individual donation is ignored. And, need I remind you, "money is fungible?" The charities may be upset and it may result in a drop in donations (as I believe the Red Cross experienced) but that's about it.

In the Times article the complaint seems to be mostly from the intended recipients rather than donors. For example,

Indonesia, too, is vexed that aid agencies have scaled back their commitments to build housing in Banda Aceh after raising money for that purpose and other projects to aid tsunami victims.

...

"The government of Sri Lanka has also alleged and is disappointed that many international NGO's raised money for post-tsunami work but have not expended that money in Sri Lanka," he said. "In fact only a small fraction has been spent here."

And again, what is the recourse?

The health minister of Niger fired the opening salvo at the end of the year, charging that some international aid groups had overstated the extent of the hunger crisis in his drought- and locust-ravaged country as part of a strategy to raise money for their own purposes.

...

After contacting donors for permission to use the money they had earmarked for the tsunami for other purposes, Doctors Without Borders was able to pay for operations in Niger, Pakistan, Sudan and Haiti, among other places, Mr. Bradol said.

"So I'm not very concerned with the Niger authority's remarks," he said. "We have treated more than 60,000 kids there who otherwise would have died of severe acute malnutrition without launching any specific fund-raising appeal."

"We must all remember the Golden Rule." "What's that?" "He who has the gold makes the rules." [from the Wizard of Id, if I recall correctly]

I don't think foreign aid is similar enough to an employment situation to make an employment analysis very helpful.

That said, the employment/free speech intersection is a lot more complicated than you seem to think rilkefan. For example, army officers and foriegn service employees are both restricted in what they can say in public if they want to maintain their positions.

I am restricted in what I can say in public, if I want to keep my freedom, security clearance, and 401k. It's part of this agreement I have whereby I promise to safeguard this information in exchange for being able to access it.

I could cry coercion, but that'd be an abdication of responsibility.

SH: "That said, the employment/free speech intersection is a lot more complicated than you seem to think"

No, I realize it's complex, I just think (or more accurately suspect) your argument proves too much.

Move the discussion to NGOs or charities if you prefer. (Though actually probably everybody's bored at this poin.)

Slart, I think it's clear the govt can compel you to keep secrets they give you access to, given the security import - but what about publicly available info? Or if the admin prohibited you (at the cost of losing your job) from expressing political views contrary to it on non-defense issues ?

If I understand correctly, some percentage of hires are patronage or otherwise political, but others are expected to be apolitical. I recognize the right of a doctor in country X not to discuss an action that is legal (and funded by the govt) in the US and legal in that country, but I find the intrusion of our politics into such areas troubling.

Or if the admin prohibited you (at the cost of losing your job) from expressing political views contrary to it on non-defense issues ?

They can't, and don't. If they did, though, it'd have to be the result of an agreement to that effect. They certainly cannot constrain in any way things that I choose to discuss outside of my role at work.

I don't see where the dividing line between that and gagging doctors (US citizens or otherwise) lies.

"If I understand correctly, some percentage of hires are patronage or otherwise political, but others are expected to be apolitical."

You're talking about the difference between the Senior Executive Service and the Civil Service.

"I recognize the right of a doctor in country X not to discuss an action that is legal (and funded by the govt) in the US and legal in that country, but I find the intrusion of our politics into such areas troubling."

I don't understand what this means.

"I don't see where the dividing line between that and gagging doctors (US citizens or otherwise) lies."

Statute.

Is it the contention that the doctors are also gagged when speaking as private citizens? Are they gagged when no such conditions for providing aid are in place?

It's not clear to me what your argument is, and probably vice versa, so let's talk. The way I see it, there's no legal bindings in the case in question, just financial ones.

Slarti: Is it the contention that the doctors are also gagged when speaking as private citizens?

Yes, indeed. What would be the point of the global gag rule if a hospital employee (doctor, administrator, or nurse) could be ungagged when they leave work? The whole point of the global gag rule is to make Bush look good to his base by driving as many women as possible to die of unsafe illegal abortions. If the global gag rule were that easy to get around, more women might survive.

I'm sorry: of course, the point of the global gag rule isn't to kill women - the women who are killed by it are just collateral damage. The point of the global gag rule is to diminish the number of safe legal abortions, and to prevent as many people as possible from talking about the unsafe illegal abortions that result. The dead women are not relevant to the "pro-lifers" who see this as a good result.

And again, sorry. This was intended to be an amusing poke at Sebastian and Von, who object to people rioting in favor of religiously-inspired opposition to free speech, but who (Sebastian, at least) see religiously-inspired opposition to free speech as desireable when it causes the death of nearly 80 000 women a year. Unfortunately, I failed to maintain the amused detachment necessary for truly successful pokes: I can't regard those deaths as positively as Sebastian does.

I am banning myself from Obsidian Wings for 24 hours to cool down. Bye.

The description from the site you gave, Jes, says:

no U.S. family planning assistance can be provided to foreign NGOs that use funding from any other source to: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country.

So the NGO can't use other funding to lobby to make abortion legal. How do we get from there to a restriction on private speech on the part of individual employees? AFAICT this means that they simply can't lobby the government in their official capacity as a member of that NGO (or even more literally, can't receive money from the NGO to do so).

"The whole point of the global gag rule is to make Bush look good to his base by driving as many women as possible to die of unsafe illegal abortions."

Wasn't the global gag rule in effect under Reagan and Bush I?

BTW can we have no more related presidents? The dynasty-like implications of Bush I v. Bush II seem unamerican.

The gag rule is the admin saying they won't pay for programs where doctors express certain views the admin dislikes. I assume that if a doctor sees a patient who wants another option and the doctor says, "I can't talk about abortion, but come by my house when I'm off-duty and I'll tell you where to go", the funding would be cut if the administrator found out and agreed with the policy.

I'm a contractor. My paycheck comes from a national lab. If my boss was told not to renew my contract on the basis of my advocacy of Wes Clark, I'd be displeased. I assume that statute, as Gary puts it, prevents the admin from doing that. If I went to Namibia to teach physics for an NGO, and the admin decided they'd drop the program if I discussed the Big Bang, I'd be displeased. I take it there's no statute involved. It's unclear to me why anyone would shrug at the latter hypo and not the former on that basis.

kenB, see "provide counseling and referral for abortion".

(I should note that I'm arguing this because of my view that medical decisions and discussions should be between doctors and their patients to the extent that's consistent with widely-held cultural standards. Of course if it turns out a drug is deadly, then I can see proscribing it - but consider the case of Teresa Nielsen Hayden described here.)

the funding would be cut if the administrator found out and agreed with the policy.

Probably, but only because it would at that point be the de facto policy of the NGO. Surely it's legitimate for the government to factor in the NGO's policies when deciding which organizations to fund. Seems to me that the objection here isn't the "free speech restriction" per se, but the particular speech being restricted -- see my China infanticide hypo as a check on that impression.

Note that I'm not supporting the gag rule policy, just saying that treating it as a "freedom of speech" issue is inapt.

"I assume that if a doctor sees a patient who wants another option and the doctor says, 'I can't talk about abortion, but come by my house when I'm off-duty and I'll tell you where to go', the funding would be cut if the administrator found out and agreed with the policy."

I'm not an expert on the GGR, though I'm doing a bit more reading on it now, to see if I can find any support for Jes's assertions as regards private, off-duty speech, and your "assumption."

I suggestion that "assumption[s]" may not be helpful. Could you please offer a citation, instead?

Thanks. Ditto request to Jes, whether she wants to wait 24 hours, or not respond to me, or whatever. Presumably, if the assertion is true, it shouldn't be in the least hard to support it with a citation.

Here, it says this:

Certain actions are technically permitted under the Global Gag Rule, including the provision of abortion services in cases of rape, incest or threat to the pregnant woman's life. Providers are only permitted to "passively" respond to a question from a pregnant woman regarding where a safe, legal abortion could be obtained if she "clearly states that she has already decided to have a legal abortion, and the family planning counselor reasonably believes that the ethics of the medical profession in the country requires a response regarding where it may be obtained safely."

"Presumably, if the assertion is true, it shouldn't be in the least hard to support it with a citation."

Could you support your "presumption" with a citation, please? If it's true that it's generally the case that true assertions can be easily based on cites, it shouldn't be hard to base that on a cite.

I've read a number of documents. I've yet to find anything about off-duty speech of individuals of NGOs. A typical formulation goes like this:">http://www.crlp.org/pdf/pub_bp_bushggr_violation.pdf">this:

A. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES
The Bush global gag rule forbids foreign NGOs receiving USAID assistance for family
planning or reproductive health services from using their own, non-U.S. money to "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in USAID-recipient
countries or provide financial support to any other foreign nongovernmental organization that conducts such activities."
14
The phrase "abortion as a method of family planning" is so broadly defined that it prohibits nearly all abortions, including an explicit ban on all "abortions performed for the physical or mental health of the mother."
15
Also explicitly banned are the following:
(I) Operating a family planning counseling service that includes, as part of the regular program, providing advice and information regarding the benefits and availability of abortion as a method of family planning;
(II) Providing advice that abortion is an available option in the event other methods of family planning are not used or are not successful or encouraging women to consider abortion...;
(III) Lobbying a foreign government to legalize or make available abortion as a
method of family planning or lobbying such a government to continue the legality
of abortion as a method of family planning; and
(IV) Conducting a public information campaign in USAID-recipient countries
regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion as a method of family planning.
16
Simply put, the global gag rule, with limited exceptions, prohibits foreign NGOs from
using their own funds to provide full and accurate information about all legal medical options to female patients, perform legal abortions, or lobby their own governments for abortion law reform. The 1973 Helms Amendment already prohibits U.S. funds from being used for these activities.
The only cases I'm yet finding of punishments being enacted tend to be like this:
CISTAC refused to certify compliance to the FY 2000 global gag rule and lost a quarter of its $200,000 budget reportedly due to fallout from the global gag rule, thus seriously
compromising its efforts to educate men and women about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Everything I read refers to "organizations" being prohibited from engaging in various acts. I've found nothing in reference prohibitions on off-duty individuals, as yet. I've found no cases of individuals being punished, as yet, though there are various citations of people saying they didn't engage in speech because of "fear" of their organization having funds withdrawn. I suppose one could make a case for a "chilling effect," but really only if one can point to actual examples of such events having ever taken place, I think.

I'll look around a bit more, and then I'll go on to other stuff, and wait for a citation in support of the assertion that individuals working for NGOs can't speak up on their off-hours. There are certainly many cases of such individuals testifying in public about abortion, and writing articles about abortion, I note, which also tends to cast some doubt on Jesurgislac's assertion, and Rilkefan's "assumption."

But I'm not an expert, and a couple of citations in support of the claims would clear things up immediately.

*retreats from this thread*

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