Newt Gingrich attacks Free Speech at award event for people who defend it.

The irony is almost overwhelming and hard to believe, but apparently Newt Gringrich gave a speech at the event where they hand out Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Awards to people who stand up to defend free speech and Gringrich apparently stood there and told the crowd that Free Speech needs to be curtailed to prevent terrorism:

MANCHESTER – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a “different set of rules” may be needed to reduce terrorists’ ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

“We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,” said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP’s takeover of Congress in 1994.

Gingrich sharply criticized campaign finance laws he charged were reducing free speech and doing little to fight attack advertising. He also said court rulings over separation of church and state have hurt citizens’ ability to express themselves and their faith.

I’m trying to track down a transcript of his speech because what the folks at the Union Leader are reporting so outrageous that I need to verify it for myself. If true it makes Gringrich into one of the biggest dumb asses ever to run for office. And he wants to be President in 2008?

16 thoughts on “Newt Gingrich attacks Free Speech at award event for people who defend it.

  1. Remind me again what are the signs that the terrorists have succeeded?

    Seriously, the far right is just using terrorism as an excuse to gut the constitution and set up their theocracy (didn’t fail to notice his church-state comment got in there too).  He made the mistake of putting it out there at exactly the wrong time and venue.

    As far as 2008, he may run but he can’t hide (mistress, divorce while wife has cancer).

  2. Not sure about some of these links, but here you go…

    Newt.org – Full speech transcirpt

    This is a serious long term war, and it will enviably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear of biological weapons.

    And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

    This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to proactively, now, develop the appropriate rules of engagement.

    And, I further think that we should propose a Genève convention for fighting terrorism which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous.

    This is a sober topic, but I think it is a topic we need a national dialogue about, and we need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait until actually we literary lose a city which could literally happen within the next decade if we are unfortunate. So…

    I’m not a fan of Newt, but after reading his transcript and the articles below, it appears his words may have been twisted.

    Huffington Post Opinion Article

    A Blogger on Gingrich’s Folly

    Nothing new Here but the First Comment on the Article is Kinda Funny

  3. This is a serious long term war, and it will enviably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous,

    Maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t ending free speech to fight some imaginary war on quote ‘cave men’ sound ridiculous to you? And what websites are classified as dangerous? Websites that oppose Christianity and the Bush administration? I think SEB would be shut down then…

    And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet

    Why would we lost a city? The terrorists would have to be truly brain dead to even threaten to blow up a city, we would turn the entire middle east into a crater. And again, break up who’s capacity to use the internet? Democrats? Libertarians?

    to break up their capacity to use free speech,

    That is unconstitutional; not that the constitution is still followed anyway.

  4. Maybe I’m wrong, but doesn’t ending free speech to fight some imaginary war on quote ‘cave men’ sound ridiculous to you? And what websites are classified as dangerous? Websites that oppose Christianity and the Bush administration? I think SEB would be shut down then…

    I think in the statement you are referring to Newt was referring to websites that support terrorism by setting up a means to funnel money to terrorists.  Something that the FBI and the CIA are currently tracking and hunting down.

    Why would we lost a city? The terrorists would have to be truly brain dead to even threaten to blow up a city, we would turn the entire middle east into a crater. And again, break up who’s capacity to use the internet? Democrats? Libertarians?

    Didn’t the terrorist threaten 9/11 before they committed the acts?  But why would you expect the terrorist to threaten the next attack regardless?  I would expect them to just do it, not say, “Hey America here we come you better watch out!”

    You need to separate free speech and speech that obviously will lead to the killing of people.  If someone says I am going to kill anyone that live in the city of XYZ on day 123 etc, that threat should be taken seriously if it is deemed credible should it not?

    But enough arguing semantics, my original point is that all the articles that had something on Newt pulled out specific portions of his speech to make it seem he was just coming right out and saying, “We need to limit free speech during times of war.”  Which was not really the case.

  5. You need to separate free speech and speech that obviously will lead to the killing of people.  If someone says I am going to kill anyone that live in the city of XYZ on day 123 etc, that threat should be taken seriously if it is deemed credible should it not?

    If some whackjob is threatening to blow your brains out, I would hope that you would have enough sense to take it seriously.

    The thing is though, a ‘War on Terror’ is just as pointless as a ‘War on Drugs’ or a ‘War on Guns’; If someone is hell bent on blowing up a building / acquiring drugs / shooting someone, they will blow up the building / acquire drugs / get a gun, no matter how much you try to control free speech / prohibit drugs / pass gun control. The only way you could completely prevent all of these is by having every person be watched over by the government, in which case the government becomes the criminal. That is why our Constitution has the First and Second Ammendments, because it is futile to try and control citizens speech and/or guns; if a nut is hell bent on something, he will probably succeed despite the law.

  6. I would certainly agree with what you are saying, they will stop at nothing to kill us.  And that a war on whatever is pointless and a waste of money.  And our country will never be able to preemptively stop every attack, this is true. 

    But we can certainly make strides to better protect ourselves.  I am not advocating our country become a watch dog, but when someone has a website devoted to funneling funds to terrorists in the Middle East, I think anyone would agree that website should be shut down. 

    What I was trying to say earlier is that I believe this was the point Newt was trying to make, and just like Kerry before him, he botched it just enough to let the press run with it.

  7. I don’t trust Newt Gingrich any further than I can throw him.  If he says he’s going to only attack and shut down websites that support terrorists, I say let him prove it in a court of law in front of a judge that wasn’t appointed by his buddies Bush and Cheney.  There have been more than enough examples of Republicans calling everyone who disagrees with them a “terrorist supporter” or a “communist sympathizer” or… well, the list goes on and on… to make me think of this as a tool to use against domestic political opponents *first*, and an anti-terrorist weapon later (if at all – it seems to suit their purposes for terrorism to stay big enough to be scary, basically forever).

  8. I believe most Americans support the right of freedom of speech up to the point at which such speech is controversial, advesarial, or detestable.  Indeed, on the heels of Newt’s comments, Jessie Jackson chimed in with his ideas that some speech should be illegal:

    Rev. Jessie Jackson: Our forefathers created the First Amendment to ensure a robust public debate and to prohibit the government from making laws to squelch political speech, even speech critical of our leaders. But obscenity has never enjoyed that protection, nor should it. Yelling ‘‘fire’’ in a crowded theater does not have protection. Similarly, hate speech—like that wielded by [Michael] Richards—has and should be illegal.

    While my opinion is clearly as worthless as everyone else’s, I believe the good Reverend has missed something: Another purpose of free speech protection is to guarantee that those ideas that are detestible, obscene, unpopular, or controversial get to see the light of day.  This way, we enjoy the right to say something that others will determine t be completely wrong.  For an example, consider Chomsky’s defense of Robert Faurisson’s civil right to deny aspects of the holocaust.  While you will likely disagree with what Faurisson might say, isn’t the real question whether he has the right to say it?

  9. I am ashamed of you people! I watch over you, I take care of you, and I protect you, and this is what you have to say. You people are the reason that I do what I can to curtail speech. It is unacceptable that you would even think such things, let alone say them.

    I do as the voices of God tell me! You only wish you had such morals!

    I’ll have you know that I have the power, if not the legal authority, to arrest any one of you for being a terror suspect! You better watch what you say and think!

    -George B.


    lol
    -Bob

  10. He also said court rulings over separation of church and state have hurt citizens’ ability to express themselves and their faith.

    Funny how Newt has no problem with the religious expression aspect of free speech.

  11. Funny how Newt has no problem with the religious expression aspect of free speech.

    How so?

    I’m sympathetic to his feelings, but not an advocate of his approach.  Nevertheless, what he is saying is not incongruent.

  12. Nevertheless, what he is saying is not incongruent.

    Only if you consider religious expression to be more untouchable than other forms of free speech.

  13. Only if you consider religious expression to be more untouchable than other forms of free speech.

    I do not. I see many different forms of speech.  Only if you consider all speech to be the same and indistinguishable is there some type of irony present.

  14. Only if you consider all speech to be the same and indistinguishable is there some type of irony present.

    True.

    At the same time, this was yet another example of a prominent religious conservative holding high regard for religious expression (expecially when the religion being expressed is that of his own) while simultaneously maligning other forms of free speech.

    Plus, I’ve never much cared for Newt. Imagine that.

  15. I have as much problem with regulating with free speech as I do with pornography and drugs.
    If all the players are over the age of consent that should be the end of it.
    Who are gonna to be the judges, what bias do they own and where’s it come from?
    If their reasoning is steeped in the unreasonableness (and hypocrisy) of religion they should automatically be discharged.
    Who regulates the regulators? Are they elected or appointed? If appointed, who appoints them … and why?
    Sure there’re some talking, walking and blogging fuckwits out there but isn’t it better to have them out in the open?

  16. Plus, I’ve never much cared for Newt. Imagine that.

    I’ve never liked the political side of Newt, but get him off politics and into other arenas and he’s actually a pretty entertaining guy.

    Check this out. His book reviews over at Amazon. I’ve always meant to read one of his novels, just haven’t got around to it.

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