Once again, Arizona is proving the old adage anyone who hangs around in Tombstone soon learns. Don’t drink the water, there’s something in it that causes you to lose all rational thought! Evidently it applies to the entire state. Once again, the legislature, that includes a GOP Senate who thought establishing Russell Pierce as as their erstwhile leader was not a bit of a problem, is at it again.
This time they want all forms of anger, harassment, sexually expressed content, lewdness, etc. criminalized, online. Yep – they want to control thoughts and actions. The Pink Flamingo was under the impression that only liberals wanted to curtail free speech and control thoughts and minds. Evidently the extreme idiots in Arizona are just as bad as a bunch of liberals.
This bunch of enlightened yahoos has already passed the bill. It is waiting for Governor Dimwit to sign it. Knowing her, she will.
“…The Arizona state legislature apparently finds it difficult to tell the difference between a telephone and the Internet and has passed a bill that would extend the definition of harassment originally devised for phone conversations to anything communicated or published online.
As summarized by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, “The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate via electronic means speech that is intended to ‘annoy,’ ‘offend,’ ‘harass’ or ‘terrify,’ as well as certain sexual speech. Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, H.B. 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected material the state finds offensive or annoying.”
The bill is currently awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature, and the Media Coalition, which defends first amendment rights in the media, has sent her a letter outlining some of the problems with the legislation….”
In other words, if one were to replay or listen to Rush Limbaugh’s recent slutty remark online, or tweet it, or replay it, you would be held libel for a criminal action. As defined by this bill, the very act of The Pink Flamingo repeating and defending Rush Limbaugh would be a criminal action.
“...There are numerous recent examples of speech that was intended to be provocative that could be criminal under H.B. 2549. When a Danish newspaper posted pictures of Muhammad, they were intended to be offensive to Muslims to make a point about religion but this could be a crime if a Muslim in Arizona viewed the pictures online and considered them profane. Some Arizona residents may consider Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments about a Georgetown law student lewd. He could be prosecuted if he intended his comments to be offensive. Similarly, much general content available in the media uses racy or profane language and is intended to offend, annoy or even terrify. Bill Maher’s stand up routines and Jon Stewart’s nightly program, Ann Coulter’s books discussing liberals and Christopher Hitchens’ writing expressing his distaste for religion or Mother Theresa, Stephen King’s novels or the Halloween films all could be subject to this legislation. Even common banter online about sports between rival fans frequently is meant to offend or annoy and often done using salty and profane language….”
As of this week, State Representative Vic Williams, who has sponsored the bill, has pulled it, until it can be studied.
Williams left a comment at the Phoenix New Times. I added a few below his. The Pink Flamingo is now beginning to see why we need to have lawyers as lawmakers. I never thought I would, but this little spat in Arizona is just another reason why we need people in office who know the law.
“…There’s no question that commentary on the Internet can sometimes get overheated, and that’s even more true at high-traffic web sites and sites with commenting systems that allow people to post anonymously. Here at OTB, we try to police the comments as best we can and have been known to enforce the comment policy where appropriate. However, I fail to see why a comment that may be offensive, annoying, or profane should subject anyone to criminal liability. Advocates of a bill like this will likely say that this is meant to combat people who threaten or harass people online. However, it’s already illegal to threaten someone with physical harm in any forum, including online. Indeed, we’ve seen several cases in recent years where people who posted idiotic comments about the President that could theoretically be seen as threatening received a little visit from the Secret Service. To the best of my knowledge, none of those cases has ever resulted in charges being brought against someone, most likely because the agent investigating the matter determined that the post was just a dumb comment left in an online forum by an idiot. Even in the the case of civilians, though, if someone posts a threat online to cause physically harm someone or engages in behavior that can be classified as stalking, they can already be charged under existing laws. There’s no need for a broad statute like the one Arizona is considering….”
Unfortunately, this is not the limit to the idiocy in Arizona. Consider the fact that some in the State House there want to consider a woman pregnant two weeks before they are actually pregnant! Yep, they state that live begins during ovulation. I gather, then any woman who has a period is guilty of murdering her unborn child.
“...Think about the implications down the road. If a woman is “pregnant” two weeks before she becomes pregnant, than any fertile woman—including those currently menstruating!—should really be considered pregnant. After all, we don’t know the future. We don’t know that any non-pregnant woman couldn’t be pregnant two weeks from now, making her retroactively pregnant now. Considering that it’s anti-choice nuts we’re talking about, it’s safe to assume that they’d simply prefer a situation where all women of reproductive age are considered to be pregnant, on the grounds that they could be two weeks from now. Better safe than sorry, especially if that mentality means you get to exert maximum control over the bodies of women of reproductive age….”
It’s this kind of thing that makes those of us who are against abortion cringe. It makes everyone who is pro-life look like a bunch of fools. I’m getting a little tired of this stuff. It has reached the point where, in some places, women are being tried for murder if they lose a baby or give birth to a stillborn child. Yes – it is happening.
“…Now with this Arizona bill, if a woman is deemed pregnant two weeks before she actually is, prosecutors could even have a chance to look at your choices when you weren’t even pregnant—before you even had the sex that made you pregnant—and blame those choices for bad outcomes. They’re creating, brick by brick, the legal basis on which to prosecute a woman who drinks some alcohol, becomes pregnant two weeks later, and miscarries, even though she didn’t drink while pregnant. And you best believe that when feminists protest this, they’ll just paint it as if we’re more interested in protecting drunken sluts than “babies.”
If you can be “pregnant” without being pregnant, that also creates legal complications around simple menstruation. After all, menstruation is usually seen as the opposite of being pregnant; women use menstruation to mark that they aren’t pregnant. But under this bill, you could both be menstruating and “pregnant” by law. Should Roe be overturned and the state start looking to prosecute women for miscarriages they deem inappropriately prevented, what about women who are just getting their period? They’re “pregnant” under the pregnant-prior-to-conception framework, aren’t they? Are they miscarrying in the eyes of the law or are they just continuing their theoretical pregnancy? These kinds of ambiguities are exactly the sort of thing zealous misogynist law enforcement will be looking to exploit. …”
When does the stupidity come to an end?
I think we have the answer to the question – can you be too conservative? Yep, you sure can. When you become this conservative, you become abjectly liberal in your limits of freedom.
No wonder this is a state where Russell Pierce had such an easy time of it.