Saturday, September 1, 2007

"Free speech is alive and well," says Captain Lipzipper

Cartoon © Carlos Latuff

Some people just can't handle the truth (or the consequences thereof — real or imagined — for that matter).

The following is similar to what is happening to Dr. Norman Finkelstein and others who are deemed by self-styled thought police as being too polemical for public consumption.

Here's the deal: Another so-called "liberal bastion of free speech" — Op-Ed News — joins the ranks of Google and The Daily Kos by practicing selective free speech; that is, the speech which frees the website owners and editors from the harassment of criminally coercive pressure groups such as the ADL and CAMERA.

But are the editors of Op-Ed News just another spineless bunch of bootlickers? You judge. In their words:

"After consultation with our team of editors, we're banning the use of the words: Zionism, Zionist, Islamicism, Islamicist. These words are too often used too loosely as a veiled way to express racist, hate messages. We do not, in any way, intend to restrict or censor criticism of Israeli or Palestinian actions, policies or behaviors. But we do believe that this approach will prevent people from abusing our community and members with hate talk and force all writers to use more nuanced, descriptive, precise language."

Are they not indeed practicing what the zionist apartheid regime does — namely, subjugation of the whole for the actions of very few — i.e., collective punishment?

And even though they included (to appear even-handed, I surmise) the terms Islamicist and Islamicism, is the fallacy therein not painfully rudimental if not obvious? Zionist is a label chosen by those (usually Jews or Christians) being described as such, while you'd be hard pressed to find even a handful of Muslims in the world who'd refer to themselves or their contemporaries as Islamicists. To my knowledge, there isn't such an organized, recognized, self-determined, and legitimated political movement in existence; Zionism, on the other hand, is amenable, arguably, to the affixment of all four adjectives.

Of course "anti-hate speech" sites aren't exactly known for letting the forest get in the way of their trees.

There is good news, however. Many of OEN's long-time members have already jumped ship in protest, and I'm sure plenty more will as they catch word. It's a shame too, because the site features some excellent contributing writers.

But if the ban isn't reversed, I say good riddance to the apple polishers, as their curbing of speech only serves to isolate them and punish those whose intentions are noble in protesting and resisting the evil in zionism and its equivalent in Islam (if one so exists). Disarm the citizen and the tyrant needs not fear resistance to his tyranny.

Simply-put another way: There's nothing liberating (and by extension, "liberal") about having a muzzle on one's mouth.

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9∙2 UPDATE: Op-Ed News Changing Its Tune on Word Ban (sort of)

Soon after cancelling my Op-Ed News subscription in response to the word ban, the website owner and chief editor Rob Kall emailed me back to inform me that OEN won't be implementing the ban. But after reading the latest explanation on their website, I found that OEN is actually in a sort of limbo state on the issue.

While the extreme measure isn't in effect, the editorial staff at OEN are brainstorming for a way around having to ban specific words in such a broad-stroke fashion, while still being able to censor specific material where such words are used and where "hate speech" can be perceived.

I still don't agree with the type of censorship being proposed, and a short while ago I replied to Rob, telling him as much. So unless you're absolutely bored to tears by this drama, stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can read OEN's latest statements on the issue here.

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9∙3 UPDATE: Op Ed News Elaborates on Their Tentative Plans

DesertPeace posted the latest word from OEN, received in an email. Excerpt:

Bottom line is we listened to our members. No word banning will take place. We'll be instituting several software solutions:

-member ranking comments on several parameters
-member burying of comments, like does.
-allowing more members to hide or delete troll rated comments, including bigoted ones.
-word recognition software to cue writers with suggestions, if they use language that tends to be abused.


  1. Brilliant!!!
    I 'borrowed' this post for my blog... with thanks.

  2. Thanks, DP. Any time.

    It's funny though. After submitting several of my articles to WRH, one finally gets posted, but when it is, it's linked to your website instead of mine. What a hoot. Perhaps you should post much more of my material! lol

  3. I would suggest that if you send Mike Rivero an artyicle at WRH that you put "essay submission" in the subject line, that way he knows not to erase it. I imagine he gets 3K+ emails a day, 90% of which is trash.

    I posted this at the PC Apostate, great article@!

  4. Thanks, PCA. The subject line I currently use is "Article Submission," but I'll definitely use the word essay next time.

  5. I just thought I'd mention my opinion here. Opednews is not only seeking to ban speech but they are banning members who point out things that they don't want pointed out. At least that's what I'm convinced happened in my case; I was banned for saying that Rob Kall had DLC "unity minions" on his site....also for saying (though not directly) that Rob Kall was a left-wing gatekeeper. I have also been the jerk who pointed out when Rob Kall said one thing and does completely another. (btw, I proved this with links in a comment - which uh, guessed was deleted. My, my...what was Rob the leader of the self-described most open left wing site on the net afraid of???)

    And if he denies this, I believe I have the conversations/web pages saved to my hard drive. {So he'd be wise to tread carefully here. ;-))

    Furthermore, Rob would probably say that I was abuse or rude and I admit that there was one post a couple months ago that someone could perhaps take that way, however, in my defense, I kept it on the same level that the author of the piece did. He chose her side because she was saying what he wants to be said on his site. In any event, that was months ago and the posts he recently claimed he banned me for - they were FACTUAL, not abusive. my opinion, backed up with lots of experience, observation, and study of, Rob Kall is a manipulative and deceptive left wing gate keeper. Good progressives you would be wise to leave Opednews and to stop supporting his site. (And Rob, if you happen to read this and you have a problem with what I just said, well here's my Raspberry dedicated to you, "TOUGH Nuggies, cause you can't censor me in here."

  6. Wow, RCG. Thanks for sharing that experience. It sounds like some wicked drama.

    I've only been a member for a little over a month, so I've barely even tested the waters. At this point, I only write comments there, and not articles. There are some excellent writers published there, and some of the subjects discussed compel me to put in my ½ cent.

    It looks like the word ban has been eighty-sixed, so I figure wtf. If I get shafted, then so be it: bad on me. If it turns out that it's censorship only in a different form, and I get wrongly run off the site, then wtf also. (I won't say you didn't warn me though.)