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Are gag orders undermining free speech?

Are gag orders undermining free speech?

The question of so-called “gag orders” has come to the fore in the various trials of President Trump.

Even a First Amendment extremist, like me, understands that the right to free speech has justifiable limits.  Freedom of speech does not extend to slander or libel … or lying under oath … or inciting a riot … or intimidation of witnesses or others. Owners of private property can prohibit speech on their premises. 

When courts order a limitation on a person’s speech, we call it a “gag order.”  Many believe the term comes from days of yore when courts literally gagged defendants.  While that has happened – even in modern times – it has never been a standard practice.  It is very rare throughout history — although denying the right to free speech by court order has been a common practice.   It has been applied to defendants, plaintiffs, lawyers and even the news media.

The real issue is how to determine when limiting a person’s free speech is necessary to avoid some harm and when it is used to merely protect state actors from criticism.

An example of the latter comes from ancient Rome.  There was a law called Lex Maiestatis.  It prohibited any speech or acts that would undermine the authority of the Roman government – or even insult its dignity.  It was an offense that could get a person crucified – literally.  In modern times, you see that sort of gag law in places like China and North Korea – or any number of other authoritarian regimes.

In America, gag orders have been issued – or at least requested – to prevent influencing juries (the murder case of Shepard v. Maxwell – 1966) … protecting classified information (the Pentagon Papers case of New York Times v. The United States – 1971) … protecting the identity of plaintiffs (the true identity of the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade – 1973).  In the armed robbery case (Illinois v. Allen – 1970) the court ordered defendant William Allen to be physically bound and gagged in court for his continuous disruptive outbursts. 

There are also gag orders to prevent intimidating witnesses (election interference case of United States v. Donald J. Trump – 2023).  So, what about the Trump cases?

The first thing we must understand that the Trump case is unique.  He is a candidate for public office – the highest office in the land.  His opinions freely expressed – no matter how bellicose or repugnant they may be – are an important part of an informed public.  Some may agree with what he says.  Some may disagree – or even be offended.  The public response will be determined in the polling places.

Is the public interest served by limiting what Trump says by court order? 

The case of the United States v. Donald J. Trump is interesting because the initial limited gag order was put in place but not because his words were determined to have intimidated witnesses or the judge, but because the prosecutor claimed he COULD do such things in the future based on his established criticism of the process. In other words, the gag order was issued on the basis of what he might say rather than what he had already said.

In the more recent requests for gag orders, the prosecutors cited specific statements by Trump that they considered to be intimidating of witnesses, judges and prosecutors.  Mostly they are a matter of interpretation.  If you tell a judge, “If you convict me, you will never see your children again” that is clearly intimidation – and against the law.  But, if you call the judge a partisan bozo, that may not be prudent, but is it intimidation?   

There is no arguing against the fact that Trump is given to offensive, provocative, and controversial statements.  It is in his DNA.  The key question is whether such speech should be legally censored when the speech – no matter how repugnant – is not illegal or unconstitutional.  And make no mistake, a gag order is censorship.

This is a secondary issue – especially in high visibility cases.  Should Trump be limited in his public speech at a time when various political players are prosecuting the case against him in the court-of-public opinion for political advantage – and potentially influencing the jury pool against Trump?  If Trump believes that a prosecutor is a partisan hack and the judge is a bozo, should he be prevented from giving his opinion?  Or should a judge gag all the folks prosecuting Trump in the court-of-public-opinion?  That is not my recommendation, but merely to make a point.

As a person whose biases are against the power of the state over the rights of individuals, I say “no.”  He should not be threatened with legal punishments for stating his views.  It is up to us the people to judge such comments.  When it comes to candidate speech, we make that judgment on Election Day.

However, … if Trump – or any defendant – were to really threaten witnesses, jurors, or judges with potential harm, that is an entirely different issue.  We do not need a gag order to address it.  We have laws against such actions.  When mobsters shake down a local business, we do not issue a gag order to make them stop demanding the money.  We indict them for breaking the law.

In a sense, all laws that limit free speech are essentially gag laws.  The contemporary use of most gag orders is a fudgy middle ground.  What the person being hit with a gag order is saying is normally protected by law and the Constitution – and not otherwise prohibited by law.  Gag orders summarily take away a person’s legal and constitutional right to say what they wish to say.  If they were not in the grip of the judicial system, there would be no question of their right to say what they said.

Unbridled free speech can present a danger in specific cases.  In those cases, we make speech illegal.  Gag orders can serve a positive public purpose in many cases, but not always.  I am not a proponent of eliminating gag orders entirely, but rather concerned that they can be a slippery slope leading to unwarranted censorship for the benefit of the state over the people – a bit like an American version of Lex Maiestatis.

My opposition to the expanded use of gag orders should not be taken as a defense of Trump on any of the charges he faces in multiple court cases.  It is about the principle behind gag orders – and their use in cases in which the language is not otherwise illegal.  My fear is that the excessive use of gag order is another example of America creeping toward unconstitutional restrictions on free speech.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

34 Comments

  1. JoeyP

    You’re RIGHT! . . . and it’s DANGEROUS. It undermines our constitutional rights – and the U.S. (and States’) Constitution.

  2. Tom

    Good topic Larry. Nice of you to finally admit you are an extremist. I do not have a problem with gag orders. I think your discussion on the first issue is a bit shallow and anecdotal. So I will provide some depth.

    Gag orders are “temporary censorship” for the good of justice and the protection of others, not just physical protection, also emotional and social protections as well. They are also protection for the family and friends of the person being verbally assaulted. They are also used to ensure that members of a jury are not known to the public in high profile cases. They are also used to protect the “due process of law” in that they stop an accused from attempting to try the case in the court of public opinion and media thus causing DAs problems in prosecuting “We The People’s” case against the accused due to tainted testimony. And those DAs do work for “We The People”. They are used to ensure the trial will not become a media circus which would further endanger the judge, DA, their staff, witnesses, jury peers, and the family and friends of the accused, etc. After the trial is over and justice has been served, folks like Trump are free to call judges bozos all they want. They just cannot do this while it could influence the cause of justice and fair trial by jury which is the hallmark of our great country.

    In the case of Trump, his intent (and I do not think you discussed this about Trump) is fully to attack the credibility of the system and those working the system for his own personal benefit. That is what he did when he commented on the judge, the DA’s staff member, witnesses, plaintiffs, etc. And he does it to create a media firestorm. And he does it for fund raising, And he does it so as to appear like sacrificial lamb for all of the down trodden by the system. Trump has learned the power of reality shows and he attempts to turn primary elections (2016), Covid, The Great Steal where he motivated people to violence and insurrection, the recent trial where he was convicted of digital rape he did this to the plaintiff, the business case in NY he did it to the DA, the election interference case in GA, and on and on. And then he raises incredible sums of money from his misguided electorate that he uses for more defenses. Trump is the Al Sharpton of Politics!!!

    As far as your second issue, last time I checked the law there was no limit on the number of gag orders that can be issued. If Trump’s lawyers feel that other political candidates are trying his case during debates, then it is up to his lawyer to ask the judge for a gag on them as well. But what I see is that Trump is the one inciting much of this by his use of media and distortion of facts. But in the cause of justice and fair trial for Trump, I do feel others should also be issued a gag order, like DA’s, Witnesses, Jury, political rivals, etc.

    I think your use of the word “view” is a bit disingenuous and minimalizing. Trump is doing much more than just presenting his view. He is personally attacking others. And I might remind you that when the liberals were attacking the SCOTUS conservative judges (Cavenaugh and Barrett) over their Roe vs. Wade decision and the liberals were giving out the names and addresses of the judges and their staff, you wanted a gag order on all of those liberals – but weren’t they just expressing their point of view like Trump??? So we need to make sure we are being fair and balanced!!

    You are also being a bit disingenuous when you say, “if Trump – or any defendant – were to really threaten witnesses, jurors, or judges with potential harm, that is an entirely different issue.”. We all know there are many misguided Trump voters willing to do his bidding by phone call threats and violence. This was shown on Jan 6th in full display. And to be balanced, it was shown by liberals on the Roe vs. Wade decision. And from what I have seen on both sides of the aisle, not everybody gets indicted. Many get away from the law. MTG got away with expressing support for assassinating Pelosi -on Facebook and all she got was “a talk by the republican leader” when federal law clearly states that what she said in communicating a threat was illegal and punishable under the law. And then there is the congressman who drew a picture effigy of hanging Pelosi, what did he get for communicating his threat??? Nothing!!!

    You say, “expanded use of gag orders”, but actually, it is not the system or judge that expanded any use, the reasons for the use are still the same as are the guidelines. Again, you present a distorted view. It is Trump that consistently expands the strike zone, not the umpires! You full well know Trump pushes all things to the limit and extremes testing the system and requires the system to push back on him. In the case of the recent gag orders, Trump was given several warnings which he ignored and actually said worse things. So it is not expanded use of gag orders. It is expanded attacks on the system and others for Trump’s personal benefit!

    I agree with your concern about gag orders which is why they all must go through a qualified and vetted judge. It’s the best we can do in a humanly imperfect system. I will suffer the gag orders to protect everything I aforementioned such as the system, fairness, justice, safety, pursuit of happiness, and liberty for all.

  3. LMB

    These GAG Orders in this manner are purposely politically motivated!! You have Judges in all of these cases that are known to be Leftist, donating to the Leftists, outspoken against Trump and Conservatives (Jan.6th)!!
    Where is the SCOTUS in these UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS!!! They should be speaking to these courts and correcting them about their unconstitutional actions!!!

    • frank stetson

      The judge in Georgia is a Republican RMB.

      The judge in Florida is Trump’s.

      BUSTED

    • Tom

      You obviously do not understand the Judicial branch of government. One must present a case for them to rule upon. They are not a teaching organization. They are an arbitration organization that makes final decisions that we all must live by. Maybe they were not teaching the judges you reference because they were out teaching about your anti-abortion decision? :>)

  4. AC

    Free speech debates has me remembering the rejoinder as kids we used when we were being verbally bullied with unprovoked mean words.
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” How many ways is this familiar response in error?
    While, sticks and stones may cause harm, it’s of a physical nature. Those hurts heal up. Words, on the other hand can pack a devastating punch.Especially when words target another’s perceived hot button.
    Words spoken and/or written, said to an individual, proclaimed to a greater audience, or keyed on phone or computer contain greater potential to do harm, to provide beneficial information, or advertise propaganda tilted to one point of view.
    Our nation’s Constitution and its First Amendment does not address each and every possible instance where words are used illegally per the Constitution writ.
    I belief the founding fathers trusted future generations would possess sufficient common sense, basic moral judgement, natural intellectual integrity, and at least a modicum of civility, as to discern First Amendment’s rights inclusions and exclusions. Whether, or not, the Constitution’s framers’ beliefs and expectation proved prophetic is debatable as citizens look for black and white conclusive answers.
    Where an absence of givens believed on the founders’ part establishes a present day reality. If they were alive today, what they make of our socio-cultural interpretation relative to directions they provided in words written on page after page .
    Wouldn’t you see.them wince at how badly eroded in general is our living to a decent moral-ethical- conscience keeping code. In deed they would observe circumstances with bewilderment, if not anger and disgust. How did this situation come about? What created polarization so wide, persons brought up in great privilege, in the same home, being taught formallythe same, living in modern cities and towns, and yet people in 21st Century America appear unable in their communicating that which can unify, Great effort is invested negatively in arguments with points which reinforce polarization.
    Those founding fathers would all agree. The arduous work and late hours spent, the summer’s extreme heat endured, the emotionally intense arguing between faction spokesmen, the interminable testy debate sessions, and finally their resolve unbroken in a common goal together produced this nation’s laws. And, the also concurred on the matter of Americans of 2023 with their elected leaders and staunchly polarized citizenry does not have and project leadership qualities in office and strength of moral-ethical determination called upon when forging standards designed for many future generations
    Even the least verbally aware person has no doubts that sticks and stones are hard and solid objects. When taken in hand to use as projectiles or swung as clubs. The two will sure bring injury and harm. In like manner, words are and have been taken in hand in the form of s virtual projector and club. Words, truly can hurt, defame, and inject shame and pain.
    Trumps gag order had proven ineffective. He will say whatever is in his head, unfiltered. A judge issuing such a ban is considering context. Trump will be Trump. Yet, the judge does not want Trump setting precedent, as to which of the two has the last word in court.
    Trump appears to assume, his words are truth in fact. Why wouldn’t every person hearing him be in agreement with whatever comes from his mouth. Therefore, his speaking can only enhance his stand and advance his champagne chances.
    Too often words in public and on the page become the proverbial double edged sword. In Trump’s case, me thinks he speaks too much.
    With that said, an open shows itself for comment on my being long winded in verse. Of this, I am self aware4
    And, that’s, that.

    • Dan tyree

      The constitution protects our rights to free speech. But if we violate other people’s rights by invading their privacy, intentionally lying about them, puffery, like Bill Clinton, or cause someone unnecessary trouble then we can face legal action. All of my statements dodged the yelling fire in a theater. I’m so tired of hearing about that. I think there was a court case about that. I’m not sure. So we really should be mindful about voting for a president who will appoint judges to our courts that are intelligent enough to rightly interpret the constitution. Especially the scotus. Liberal judges doesn’t have to be smart and usually are not. If they don’t like something in the constitution then they just legislate from the bench an away it goes or total bullshit gets added. There’s a lot at stake for our next election.

      • Dan tyree

        Meant to say perjury like Bill. Lol

        • Frank stetson

          Bill Clinton lied about getting a blow job. That’s considered being a gentleman is some quarters.

          Perhaps you would have fessed up faster than a frightened schoolboy.

          Dan defines holding a grudge.

          But Don, paying off a porn star post sex while Melanoma is in labor with Bitchman, well that’s just political theater of the witch-hunt variety.

          One sexapade is a lie, the other Presidential.

          Can you say hypocrisy.

          • Dan tyree

            Oh hell. Everyone is ok. And I agree. What man wouldn’t have lied about that. But let me pull a robbery because I’m behind on bills. Would that fly? Poor Bill was probably trying to dodge the wrath of Hillary. He knew she was a killer

          • Tom

            Bill did not lie. He said he did not have sex. He said it was a party in Monica’s mouth and everybody was coming. :>)

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … you are getting sillier and sillier. You suggest that getting a blow job and committing perjury over it is gentlemanly. LMAO. Under your theory a rapist denying the crime in court may be protecting the public reputation of the victim. And your whataboutism is really wearing thin. Clinton and Trump are two different cases that have to be judged on their own. One does not relate to the other. Can you say “stick to the point”?

          • frank stetson

            Horist, I can understand your difficultly with the art of being a gentleman.

            Gentlemen do not kiss and tell so when the pervert Stark comes after him for sex crimes, yeah, I have not issue with not divulging the blow jobs I got.

            You may feel differently, and like to blab about your sexual conquests all over the blue moon, which amounts to one story……and she married you….. but those of us with higher morals don’t spread our sexual activities with others. Ever.

            So be proud that he was nailed for lying about a blow job. Rest on that laurel. You the man all right.

            I never said perjury was gentlemanly, your obsession blinds you again.

  5. frank stetson

    “Even a First Amendment extremist, like me, understands that the right to free speech has justifiable limits” as his website, or the one he is famous for, bans third-party ad hominem except when someone suggests screwing MY daughter, then it’s OK. Or I have been told not to post song parodies or poetry, apparently rhyming is bad ju ju here and not free. I have also notice other’s hesitancy to use the n-word and some others and I might say because of having class, but not these folks. No, speech, like any of our rights, does not come without limitations due to law. Even extremists have funny first amendment rules at times. The real issue with rules is transparency of which this website has none. So things are banned but you can’t find out except the hard way. Personally, I say ban more, have some decorum. That’s free too.

    Trump, before the 1.6.2021 Republican Violent Insurrection at the Nation’s Capital, said: “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules.” His rules, his solution, and it seemed to trample a few rights along the way. I think his own words apply to himself as well. As President, any words he utters have more gravitas than either you or I. We are not 100% equal or at parity in that regard. As such, he is responsible to carry that weight in an honorable way for the public good. Or at least he should.

    Hats off Horist’s oft mentioned adage: the gag orders are perfectly legal. If not, the law allows you to appeal which Trump always does just for the time leverage if nothing else.

    Harkening to my earlier piece which Horist dismissed in so many words, the vast majority of us know right from wrong. Somehow Hoirst thinks that a dismissible topic. And with the war he wages on this one, it all makes sense. I think the President picking on court staff, to demean, defame, can only be seen as intimidation. When he attacks election workers, who may even be volunteer, that’s just rude. It’s one thing to have Joe Blow scream at you. It’s another to have John Gotti scream at you. But the President, the most powerful man in the world, the man who can summon an Army to attack the Capitol, that’s something else altogether and i think a Horist of another color too.

    There are plenty of cases now where people talk about the Trump effect and how their lives were made less secure, scarier, and basically often forced them underground. Some claim it’s the book deals that make it worth it, but come on, no million dollars is worth traveling with big sunglasses, a hat, and a covid mask… No one wants to harden their house, add 24/7 surveillance and more. Just because some asshole cant’ keep a civil tongue and is always looking to taint the jury pool. I don’t think that’s the intention of the first amendment to give one guy, more power, via speech, than another. And that’s part of what’s happening here. Any normal person pulling these shenanigans would be remanded by now.

    I am glad the Judges stood up, used the law, to put this orangutang man in his place. If this guy was not President, he would already be in jail. I would if I did that. Larry would, if he did that.

    I say bring more gag orders on, I am tired of listening to his bullshit. And his kids. Especially Eric. What an idiot. This guy has a finance and business degree from Georgetown and he did not know what GAAP is. That’s a criminal indictment of something :>) Apparently not free speech since apparently mum’s the word….. Wish we could gag those.

    • Jim lucas

      What N word? Do you mean nigger?

      • Frank stetson

        No, I meant what I wrote Your use was a first for me here.

    • AC

      It appears interpreting the First Amendment differs from person to person. It depends on how one thinks it will best suit them. Then, when asked why their interpretation did not apply to others in the same way. Intelligent reasoning would agree that the laws of the land equally apply to all. Yet, in reality, equal treatment under the law as a democratic construct has no teeth in practice.
      What! One may say, why is that? Because application of Free Speech laws varies so widely between cases the answer is most unsatisfactory. It’s complicated is the quick dismissive answer.
      First Amendment rights arguments between people possessed of differing opinions go on interminably and are seldom resolved amicably.
      Going on deeper into the US Constitution, consider its Second Amendment. What should expectations hold regarding interpretations given on the matters addressed in the Second Amendment. Again, like the First Amendment questions receive a similar unsatisfactory non-answer. It’s complicated, says the one guarding an opinion.
      On both First and Second Amendments differing views soon become apparent. And, again, still more disagreements than agreement persists. As more axes need grinding and oxen are gored. No one seems concerned that a shared fence has fallen apart and is in need of mending.
      If Americans are at each others throats with no stomach for negotiation diplomacy, then why would warring factions across the globe negotiate their differences.
      Victory in war is costly for all concerned, as is political party implacably impractical.
      Hankering for a fight seems self indulgent and ultimately unproductive.

      a why question

    • Tom

      Well said Frank. I totally agree. And yes, if it will shut him up so I do not have to hear him on the news all the time, then give him more gag orders. By the way, I hear Bill did give Monica an order not to gag! Is that true?

      One of the best things about being in China and not having any internet was not having to hear Trump’s crap. I am so glad Chinese media does not pay attention to Trump like American media does.

      • larry Horist

        Frank Stetson … While I do not upload you submissions, I do get them in my email as you submit them and before they are uploaded. In fact, you are the most frequent contributor to my email by a long shot. You are wearing out my delete key. I can say without fear of refutation that NOTHING you have submitted has ever been blocked — no matter how wrong … or how mean … or how irrelevant … or how dishonest. So, you can give your phony victimization a rest I have a public following and you constantly attack me. Under you philosophy, your words present a potential threat to me and that means YOU should be GAGGED. LOL But you are not — because the own of PBP is a staunch believer in the First Amendment.

        • Frank stetson

          Actually what I stated was stated to me by Joe Gibertson. He referred to something about moderator poetry protest.

          Same with third party ad hominem which seemed to hold until they offered to screw my daughter.

          Ask him. If he denies, that’s just funny.

      • larry Horist

        Tom … Most independent voters I know are staunch believers in the First Amendment. You seem to be an exception. The difference between you, Frank and me is that I do NOT believe a person loses their First Amendment rights because I am annoyed by what they say. Like you and Frank, I have often written of my negative opinions of Trump’s style and words. I am also annoyed by Biden’s bs … but unlike you guys, I give the First Amendment wide interpretation.

        • Frank stetdon

          I am so glad you delete my stuff from your email. Keep up the good work. Knowing you are not reading this is great.

          Unlike you, I don’t like to see little people bullied by powerful people hiding behind the first.

          Unlike you, I don’t like seeing little people threatened by the bully pulpit of the President that attracts all sorts to assault and terrorize his perceived enemies. That is not a level playing field but instead, unfair advantage.

          Unlike you, I believe in the right of our institutions to step in and stop the rich and powerful from causing unnecessary harm to those who can’t defend themselves.

          You say you are free speech extremist who regularly deletes free speech posts with great abandon. That is your right. Imagine if you actually had to hear them. That you could not delete, look away, or avoid. You are a prisoner of this man’s dementia. The little people he is attacking are not public figures, they are not celebrities, they can’t hit delete like you do to cancel his attacks and lies. But you advocate turning that horror loose. The judge is your delete key , Mr. Horist.

          It’s legal so grouse all you like when legal doesn’t go you way. Poor, poor, Don say you. Victimization is your domain, live with it. You’re the man that likes what Trump has done but think he’s pugnacious and salty. And you not only can live with it; you voted for it and you will vote again. I think he’s good to be gagged just like I think if you had any balls you would stand up, spend a few pennies, and squash ad hominem attacks here. Foul language too. But that would take class.

          And please stop bringing me into your Tom tiffs. It’s not goung to make him feel bad. He stands on his own, he doesn’t use others to make his points..Fight your own battles, you shouldn’t need my help.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … My God, you are stupid. Now, take out your crayons and take notes. I delete both the advance email and the after posting emails that come into my email box from you — and everyone else who posts. That has NOTHING to do with what appears on PBP. Everything you submit gets uploaded and published, I SEE everything you write three times — an email when you submit in advance of publication … an email when published online … and finally online. That does not mean I READ all the crap you write. I am not the counterpart to your obsessive behavior. You are not censored by me or the owner. Got it?

          • Tom

            I agree Frank with your thoughts on this one Frank. Many of Trump’s victims are people that cannot hit a delete key or stop it from being repeated on many news channels. It’s unfair, and yes, he is being a bully when he does it. Good post.

          • frank stetson

            . “Sorry to use such direct pejorative language.” Why? You do it all the time proving you are weak, without opposing evidence and unable to respond in a debate form. Your stupidity is only outmatched by your paranoia. I have your knickers wrenched so tight; your responses scream in incomprehensible agony. One more time.

            I am really trying to be nice, not to incite, I realize how sensitive and defensive you are for anyone with a different notion or idea. I really don’t like to open with snark, but you beg and beg for it.

            First: if you couldn’t tell my first post here was tongue-in-cheek, you have the brainpower of a nat. IT WAS A JOKE, HORIST —- get over it.

            Second, as to the censorship. “While I do not upload you submissions, I do get them in my email as you submit them and before they are uploaded. In fact, you are the most frequent contributor to my email by a long shot. You are wearing out my delete key” says Horist-shit.

            Gee, it sure sounds like you are deleting my posts. Yes, from your email. Tis all I was referencing. As I clearly stated. Now I could have added that many times you tell me how you don’t read them on pbp too, too long, too (#((#$ whatever, but you note with acclaim that you don’t read them. No matter, I was pretty clear I was dealing with email. You just went postal for no reason except your breathing, seething, hatred of how I write about your topics. You just can’t take it anymore. You should step back, reconnoiter, and start again. This time try and even keel.

            The rest of your post plethora is just a literal Larry losing it meltdown of the nth degree. Wow, better than watching Trump melt down in real time. Not quite as good as burger toss, but getting close. And I’m sorry if I am not following your delirium closer. You need to number your separate tirades on the same subject.

            One thing is consistent: you never argue my points, with facts and evidence, I guess because you can’t. You seem incapable of a rational response at this point. And that’s the bottom line of your ire and relentless ad hominem attacks. You just can’t defend your stand.

            Lastly, if you look, you will find posts from Joe Gilbertson detailing EXACTLY what I said. If you can’t find em, get someone to breakdown, drop a buck, and get a decent search engine. But that would raise the level of pbp discussions, and you don’t really want discussions, do you? Cuz you seem to not do well in them, lots of names though for Tom, Mike F, AC and others who dare push back on your fact less, feckless, lunacies. Either play the game right, play fair, or let’s just keep doing what you seem to like or need to do. Fuck face (sorry for the pejorative, really :>)

            Sidenote: are your posts sometimes stealth? they sometimes suddenly appear as backdated, others seem not to hit the homepage, but there they are in the thread? do you have special free speech rights as an extremist?

        • Tom

          Yes Larry, and that’s fine. It is your right! I suppose I look a little more at all of the collateral damage that can occur, and who can be hurt, with some free speech and feel the limit of free speech is when others get damaged. At that point, one’s free speech is not free to the victim because they suffer losses, some tangible, some intangible, but nevertheless, all some form of loss. And many of the worst losses are the losses we cannot see.

          • larry Horist

            You do not agree with the sticks and stones approach to free speech. Remember … tossing a stone is a violet act in which the target is a pure victim. But when a person says nasty thing about another, the recipient cant be a self proclaimed victim. The recipient is the person who determines the impact. Frank and Mike f say a lot of nasty things about me, but they have no impact because I do not allow it. We refer to those who wither when insulted as “snowflakes.” They are “injured” but their own reaction. It is just like you learn in psychology. Nothing can make you angry. YOU make yourself angry. Words cannot make me angry or hurt unless a person allows it. Of course, words can be used to incite violence. We have laws against that. If the speech does not clearly incite violence, what are the losses you claim? If a person is “crushed” by words, it may be indicative of a self esteem weakness. If words are used to threaten or intimidate, that is a crime. It is called “assault.” There is a thin grey area in which speech can be used to promote harm, but you and Frank broaden that grey area too much — and that is where it suppresses free speech.

          • Tom

            Well Larry, do you consider someone using their freedom of speech to call up a person and make death threats violence? I do.

            And you say, ” If the speech does not clearly incite violence, what are the losses you claim? If a person is “crushed” by words, it may be indicative of a self esteem weakness. ” Larry, what if a person become psychologically affected by death threats two and three times a night and losses sleep and performs poorly on their job as a result. Yes there are losses. But again, the biggest loss is the one you cannot see, it is in their head and their heart. So if I go by what you said, it is the victim who has the problem and lets those calls in the middle of the night affect them. I guess in spousal verbal abuse it is also the woman who has the problem if she can’t handle it.

            Larry, I get you. You were raised in the days of “boys don’t cry.” So was I. We were all taught that if a boy cried, there must be something wrong with him. Children’s counseling back then was virtually non-existent. So you learned to be hardened. And as you admit, when you say, ” … say a lot of nasty things about me, but they have no impact because I do not allow it.” you built a psychological shell around yourself so the hurt can’t get to you. And it would appear based on your words, that you extend this thinking to all victims of malicious free speech by saying you give wide birth to free speech rights. That is like saying, “I allow people to get hurt by the comments of others because if they are hurt by it, then they already have a problem to begin with, so why should I bear any responsibility. Who knows, maybe even your divorce had something to do with this kind of thinking. I think you ought to re-examine yourself on this one area. There is room for improvement!

          • larry Horist

            Tom … You completely missed the point in this response — and you misunderstanding crashes your entire treatise. Making death threats is a crime — not protected by the First Amendments. So of course I believe they are prosecutable. Assault is also against the law — that is when you say or do things that make a person feel personally threatened with harm by engendering fear. Even bullying is against the law because it generally carries a threat of harm. So, the issues you raise are not relevant to my support of the First Amendment. Your concerns are already covered by law. My concern is shrink the Frist Amendment to language acceptable to the power establishment. When you limit speech, someone has to enforce it.

            To say a judge is politically biased is not a death threat or even assault — according to the law. Insults are not against the law no matter how the recipient reacts to them. You say I put a shell around me. Am I supposed to be emotionally crushed every time someone like Frank insults or demeans me when I know what they say is not true — and is motivated by their own issues?

            I think we are having a problem of educating people to feel like victims instead of emotionally and psychologically strong and confident individuals. People with healthy self-esteem do not get crushed by petty insults — or even lies of a general nature. I do not think we should lower the bar of free speech to accommodate those who cannot stand up to insults.

            You have also provided a good example of why it is better to have insults fly by without emotional repercussions. You took a real dishonest and cheap shot by suggesting my view is not only wrong, but potentially a reason for the divorce. Was it your intention to cause me pain … emotional injury? Sorry Tom, you shot off a dud on all accounts. As wrong as you are in fact and civility, I have no interest in stopping you from saying crap under your First Amendment right. I was just surprised that you would take such a cheap shot..

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson .. Aha! You admit that you have never been censored on PBP … eh? You have no idea what has been blocked so you create a false impression. Specific death threats have been block. Spam and scam submissions are blocked. Submissions in foreign languages are blocked. Personal insults, snide remarks and ignorant statements are not. You are in luck.

      • Frank stetson

        What a sanctimonious snowflake Karen Horist is.

        Spankalopolis Larry, free speech extremist only blocks specific death threats. Generalize and be free.

        He just can’t see the harm in a guy who was leader of the free world. Commander of the strongest military in history, able to command thousands to violently storm our Capitol to stop congress in it’s tracks, get mass shootings, racial mas murders, all with his words should be barred from bringing that weight to bear on a court clerk just to get out of jail.

        When you say it, it means nothing. When Trump says it, it comes from the bully pulpit and it means much more.

        Besides, it’s legal so donate today to the appeal.

        • Jim lucas

          Go check yourself in to a loony bin Frank. You’ve lost your mind. And you’re going to hell

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson … you have become the whiner-in-chief. Oh yeah… everytime you get caught saying something stupid or insulting, you call it a joke. You are a joke. You constant loooong ad hominem attacks cleary reveal your obsession. You just cannot help yourself in attacking that Larry Horist of your invention, It is nothing less than childish intellectual masterbation. Makes you fell good to believe you are actually making good points….lol. You may have grown old, but you still have not grown up. That is why I mostly ignore you.

          • frank stetson

            I need a scorecard to tell if you are ignoring, dismissing, deleting, or just responding with the usual Horist-shit that you roll out for any of your victims.

            In this thread, all those attacks on me and not one on the points I raised, in humor or otherwise.

  1. Frank I can’t understand what’s wrong with MAGA. You idiots on the left are satanic bastards out to destroy patriots.…

  2. Don’t tell me nout proof. I’m too Young to need proof. I don’t need no stinkin proof. We all know…