June 26, 2016
Just two choices were given British voters: LEAVE or REMAIN.
Our first reaction to the news that the highest turnout of United Kingdom voters in history chose to abandon the European Union is that, as in Scotland’s independence referendum or the Quebec separation referendum in Canada, the results, 52% to 48%, was simply too close to call.
Such referenda are good examples of genuine participatory democracy rather than simply voting in politicians for their often-false promises.
Regardless of the marginal will of the people, UK’s governing Tory Party has unsurprisingly vowed to ignore the results and remain in the EU.
While that remains to be seen, departure from the Union will mean far more than economic readjustment. The UK will be giving up a well-respected charter, incumbent on all EU countries, incisive and binding oversight on all member country decisions.
It will also mean that the UK, which in recent years has become the world’s premier surveillance state, will be giving up the EU Charter’s protections for human rights, freedom of expression, and civil liberties.
Thailand’s own referendum looms. The vote for a new Constitution is really not about that at all. It’s about the military: LEAVE or REMAIN. Will Thailand’s military decide what’s best for us regardless of the popular vote? We have already been illegitimately forced to give up our Constitutionally-protected freedom of expression. Will we write human rights and civil liberties protections into law for Thailand’s future?
If the Constitution fails, will Thailand’s strongman do the right thing, like David Cameron, and step down? Does he have enough courage to admit he’s been wrong all along?
May 26, 2016
It’s really quite simple, actually: Free Speech is about FREE SPEECH – not moderated (i.e. censored) speech.
Contrary to the perverted concept held by many users on this website, no one has a right to never be offended. There is a very good reason for this: because it is utterly impossible to avoid offending every individual on every subject – no doubt someone reading this very answer will be offended, and what needs to be said for that is simply “tough shit, get over it.”
If a user is offended by what another user writes, then mute the person, block him or her, and then go about life without further bother. But it is no one’s job or duty to police the thoughts or ideas of others in defense of the rest of the world; each individual has the capacity to make his or her own decision as to what they wish to actually read or listen or watch.
Political correctness is poison, a cancer that gets in the way of discussing matters honestly and openly. Political correctness invites abuse by anyone who “feels threatened” or “feels offended.” Political correctness robs human beings of interacting free of reprisal or unfair material counterattacks.
The “line” between Political Correctness and Free Speech is very easy to identify. Free Speech is a TOTALLY FREE exchange of ideas; political correctness is ANYTHING that limits, qualifies, quells, changes, modifies or moderates speech …NO MATTER HOW SUBTLE.
It genuinely scares me that so many are so CONSUMED with stifling the free and open exchange of ideas.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”
Brandeis also said, “Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion.”
Brandeis went on to say the following, a most clear expression of the essence of the importance of Free Speech: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
Adherents to the concept of Political Correctness seek NOT to have an open and free exchange of ideas but to silence those whose ideas are divergent from the collective’s. There is a word for that: CENSORSHIP.
December 24, 2015
December 22, 2014
January 1, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
December 17, 2012
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, editor and labor rights advocate, has been held without bail since his arrest April 30, 2011. Somyot’s next court appearance will be on December 19, 2012; the court is expected to announce Somyot’s verdict so your support is most important. We welcome all observers.
Briefing Note_SomyotPrueksakasemsuk 15102012
Based on discussion with Somyot’s defence team, it has proven a deterrent to legal excesses and improper judicial practice for individuals and organizations attending to send an official letter to Thawee Prachuaplarb, Director-General of Criminal Court Judges, notifying the Court of your participation requesting. It would be helpful if your letter, if in English, should be accompanied by a copy of a Thai translation, if possible. The letter should be addressed to Criminal Court Building, Rachadapisek Road, Jompon District, Chatuchak Sub-district, Bangkok 10900 (Calling/Faxing in Thailand: Tel. 02-541-2284-90, Fax 02-541-2142 and 02-541-2141, Calling/Faxing outside Thailand: Tel. (662) 541 – 2284 to 2290, Fax (662) 541 – 2142, 541 – 2141) (in Thai: นายทวี ประจวบลาภ อธิบดีผูพิพากษาศาลอาญา อาคารศาลอาญา ถนนรัชดาภิเษก แขงวงจอมพล เขต จตุจักร กรุงเทพฯ 10900).
Your letter should address the concerns of freedom of expression and fair trial in international communities. The letter should not address directly that you are concerned with the lack of impartiality in the Thai court as this could forbid you from participating in the trial observation, as the court is extremely sensitive on criticism.
Next week, the Criminal Court will resume its schedule on Somyot’s case on 19 December 2012 after it has been delayed for three months without informed explanation. Prior to this, the Constitutional Court also ruled that Article 112 is not against the constitutionality. Both information made the lawyer as well as the family grave concerns about the negative development of the case. According to the lawyer, if the Criminal Court decided on penalty, Somyot may face a sentence of maximum 10-year imprisonment.
While there are neither confirmation nor details about the next court schedule informed by writing, fear of prolonged detention as well as sudden verdict announcement has been worsen among family members.
In this regard, the 112 Family Network would like to draw your attention as well as ask for your participation on the trial observation on 19 December 2012. Due to experience of other freedom of expression cases, we learnt that both Thai and international observers play a very important role to ensure fair trials.
Somyot’s verdict is held Wednesday, December 19, at Bangkok’s Criminal Court (San Aya), on Ratchadapisek Road opposite Soi 32, Lat Phrao MTR station at 9am.
Volunteer interpretation is provided upon request: email@example.com.
WE URGE ALL READERS ATTEND COURT IN SUPPORT OF SOMYOT AND TO STAND UP FOR FREE SPEECH.
Thank you so much. We’ll see you in court.
December 17, 2012
[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: We have all been wildly conditioned to live in fear of criminals and subversives and radicals. That fear prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. The gaoling of one man or woman rips apart marriages, families and communities and no good at all for the wider society. On the eve of Somyot’s verdict, we ask you to put yourself in wiofe Sukunya’s or son Panitan’s shoes.]
Political Prisoners in Thailand: October 29, 2012
Sukunya Prueksakasemsuk, wife of lese majeste political prisoner Somyos, has released a letter she has written to her husband. There are versions available in English and in ไทย. Despite Sukunya’s tireless efforts on behalf of her husband, Somyos remains imprisoned. Her letter is released to coincide with the 18-month anniversary of her husband’s imprisonment.
Somyos has been imprisoned for this very lengthy period but has still not had a verdict delivered. As PPT recently noted, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued an Opinion, stating that:
The deprivation of liberty of Mr Prueksakasemsuk, being in contravention of Articles 19 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] and 19 (2) of the ICCPR [International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights], is arbitrary, and falls in categories II of the categories applicable to the cases submitted to the Working Group.
As a result of the Opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr Prueksaksemsuk and bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the ICCPR.
The Working Group believes that, taking into account all circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to release Mr Prueksakasemsuk and accord him and enforceable right to compensation pursuant to Article 9(5) of the ICCPR.