Ninth Circuit: Lying About Military Honors Is Protected Speech

Xavier Alvarez lied about having been awarded the Medal Of Honor. Should that be a crime? The Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals says no, and they're right.

Upholding a panel decision that had been issued last August, the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a Federal crime to lie about receiving a military honor,was unconstitutional. The reaction to the decision has been, in most cases, predictable, but as Chief Judge Alex Konzinski noted in the court’s majority opinion, the fact that someone tells a lie doesn’t mean that their speech is unworthy of Constitutional protection:

Why do we lie? Let Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, count the ways.

“We lie to protect our privacy (‘No, I don’t live around here’); to avoid hurt feelings (‘Friday is my study night’); to make others feel better (‘Gee, you’ve gotten skinny’); to avoid recriminations (‘I only lost $10 at poker’),” Kozinski wrote recently in a case about an inveterate liar named Xavier Alvarez who, just to drive home the point, is also known as Javier Alvarez.

Kozinski listed 28 other reasons we avoid the truth, including to “avoid a nudnick” and to “defeat an objective (‘I’m allergic to latex’),” and ending sweetly with “to maintain innocence (‘There are eight tiny reindeer on the rooftop’).”

Kozinski’s entertaining treatise was in service to his point about the Constitution.

“If all untruthful speech is unprotected . . . we could all be made into criminals, depending on which lies those making the laws find offensive,” he wrote. “And we would have to censor our speech to avoid the risk of prosecution for saying something that turns out to be false.

“The First Amendment does not tolerate giving the government such power.”

This, I think, is the most important point about the Stolen Valor Act. It’s easy for us to condemn the actions of someone who goes around falsely claiming that they were awarded the Bronze Star or some other military honor. Someone who does that reveals a character that isn’t very worthy of being defended. But, should it be illegal, especially when that means opening up the floodgates to an entirely new category of speech that could potentially be subject to government regulation?

To answer that, I think it’s important to be aware of the facts of this particular case, as set forth in the opinion, which I’ve embedded below:

Xavier Alvarez won a seat on the Three Valley Water District Board of Directors in 2007. On July 23, 2007, at a joint meeting with a neighboring water district board, newly-seated Director Alvarez introduced himself, stating “I’m a retired marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.” With the exception of “I’m still around,” Alvarez’s statement wasa series of bizarre lies, and Alvarez was indicted and convicted for falsely claiming that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor.

Fairly despicable? Yes, but it’s important to note the context of the lies. He didn’t tell them as part of an effort to get elected, he didn’t tell them in order to persuade people to support his position on a particular issue, he didn’t tell them in order to achieve some kind of monetary gain. They were just, as the Court describes them, “bizarre lies” made more bizarre by the fact that determining whether or not a particular person has won the Medal Of Honor is a fairly easy task. There’s no real explanation for why Alvarez did it, but it is fairly obvious that nobody suffered any actual harm as a result of his lies, If they had, then Alvarez could have been prosecuted for fraud, or any other of a number of criminal offenses involving deception being used to deprive people of their property. That didn’t happen in this case, though, and Alvarez’s lies were obviously found out fairly quickly.

Nobody I’m aware of has made the argument that fraud and defamation should be considered protected speech. However, as Judge Kozinski noted in his concurrence, there is a substantial danger in holding that all false statements are undeserving of constitutional protection:

So what, exactly, does the dissenters’ ever-truthful utopia look like? In a word: terrifying. If false factual statements are  unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he’s Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won’t hurt a bit. Phrases such as “I’m working late tonight, hunny,” “I got stuck in traffic” and “I didn’t inhale” could all be made into crimes. Without the robust protections of the First Amendment, the white lies, exaggerations and deceptions that are an integral part of human intercourse would become targets of censorship, subject
only to the rubber stamp known as “rational basis review.”

What the dissenters seem to forget is that Alvarez was convicted for pure speech. And when  it comes to pure speech, truth is not the sine qua non of First Amendment protection. See Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 419 (1988) (“The First Amendment is a value-free provision whose protection is not dependent on the truth, popularity or social utility of the ideas and beliefs which are offered.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). That the government can constitutionally regulate some narrow categories of false speech—such as false advertising, defamation and fraud—doesn’t mean that all such speech falls outside the First Amendment’s bounds. As the Supreme Court has cautioned, “In this field every person must be his own watchman for the truth, because the forefathers did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us.” Id. at 419-20 (internal quotation mark omitted); Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 545 (1945) (Jackson, J., concurring). Yet the regime the dissenters agitate for today— one that criminalizes pure speech simply because it’s false— leaves wide areas of public discourse to the mercies of the truth police.

Moreover, as Kozinski notes, we lie to each other on a regular basis about all kinds of things. We call them “white lies” in order to make it seem like it’s not so bad, but an untruthful statement is an untruthful statement, and giving the government the power to punish speech just because it is untruthful establishes a dangerous precedent:

It doesn’t matter whether we think that such lies are despicable or cause more harm than good. An important aspect of personal autonomy is the right to shape one’s public and private persona by choosing when to tell the truth about oneself, when to conceal and when to deceive. Of course, lies are often disbelieved or discovered, and that too is part of the pull and tug of social intercourse. But it’s critical to leave such interactions in private hands, so that we can make choices about who we are.  How can you develop a reputation as a straight shooter if  lying is not an option?

Even if untruthful speech were not valuable for its own sake, its protection is clearly required to give breathing room to truthful self-expression, which is unequivocally protected by the First Amendment. See New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 271-72 (1964). Americans tell somewhere between two and fifty lies each day. See Jochen Mecke, Cultures of Lying 8 (2007). If all untruthful speech is unprotected, as the dissenters claim, we could all be made into criminals, depending on which lies those making the laws find offensive.  And we would have to censor our speech to avoid the risk of prosecution for saying something that turns out to be false. The First Amendment does not tolerate giving the government such power.

Kozinski gets it absolutely correct here, I think. Yes, Avalrez revealed himself to be something of a jerk for falsely claiming that he won the Medal Of Honor, but why should the law treat that any differently than a guy who lies about his golf game, or how big the fish he almost caught was? Moreover, if you accept the argument that “untruthful” speech doesn’t deserve Constitutional protection, then you have to deal with the issue of how you decide if something is “truthful” or not. In cases like Alvarez’s, of course, it’s fairly easy to determine that he was lying, but that won’t always be the case, and turning government into the “truth police”  would be dangerous, for the reasons that Kozinski notes.

So, yea, a guy who lies about receiving the Medal of Honor is a scumbag, but there’s no reason that he should be a criminal.

United States v. Alvarez

UPDATE (James Joyner): I agree with the 9th Circuit and Doug. See my post from March 2008 on “Criminalizing Lying about Heroism.”

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Law and the Courts, Military Affairs, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    Well, it’s a sketchy thing, here. Some people, like Alvarez, tell lies like this because they’re just ‘damaged’ – I can’t think of a better term – it doesn’t appear Alvarez made his claims to get on the board, but only after he got the position. But a lot more people make these claims for some sort of material gain, whether it’s some sort of deal/discount, more customers, or votes, and I’m not sure if current fraud laws adequately cover that sort of fabrication.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    If it was illegal to lie, then we would have to lock up all of the people at the Family Research Council, The National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and every single politician… I better stop before I convince myself that locking up lairs might just be a good thing.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Legion,

    Puffery generally isn’t considered fraud.

  4. Wayne says:

    Having prestige in elected position give one some clout. So his claims gave him that.

    To make sure I have it right. A person in his position should be able to claim that they are anything they want. He should legally be able to claim his as a PHD in water management, medicine anything? Any pundit on T.V. can claim to be a Doctor, former F.B.I agent, Oscar winner, etc as long as they didn’t make that claim to get the job?

  5. george says:

    If it was illegal to lie, then we would have to lock up all of the people at the Family Research Council, The National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and every single politician… I better stop before I convince myself that locking up lairs might just be a good thing.

    You’d probably also have to shut down the Internet, because of people like me who’ve actually won three Nobel Prizes, have several MVP’s and championship rings in the NFL, NHL, and NBA, and who are experts in just about every field will want charges pressed on others who just claim these things.

    It’s curious that Alvarez would make such an easily checked claim …

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    If it was illegal to lie, then we would have to lock up all of the people at the Family Research Council, The National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and every single politician… I better stop before I convince myself that locking up lairs might just be a good thing.

    lol…I get the politicians, but why the other examples?

    lol….

  7. Wayne says:

    The question isn’t if “all” lies are illegal but if “some” are. Some clearly are. There is a law that was passed to make it illegal to claim you won the Medal when you haven’t. Other laws have been passed to prevent certain lies. You may or may not agree with them but IMO if one is unconstitutional than that bring into question the constitutionality of the others.

    Remember the 9th circuit is a very liberal circuit and are overturn by the Supreme Court a good deal.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    George stole my line. On occasions, I’ve been accused of being a “chickenhawk.” I sometimes respond by saying that I have three Medals of Honor, seven Purple Hearts, and served in six different wars — does that change a single thing I’ve said? When it’s brought up that I’ve previously said I have no military experience, I say that I don’t like to brag.

    It’s obvious hyperbole, with no intention to deceive. In fact, the intention is to separate myself from my arguments, to make it obvious that the other party is trying to make the issue me, not my points. But, technically, it is lying about military honors.

    In Jay Tea’s world, scumbags like Alvarez (and the rest of the “Stolen Honor”) would not suffer any kind of legal penalty. But should they be assaulted by a legitimate veteran for their swinery, the assailing veteran would be fined one dollar. Half that if they actually possess the honor that the swine claims to hold.

    Payable in advance, if they like. (“Hey, officer, here’s five bucks. I’m gonna go kick that punk’s ass. Let me know when I’ve used up that fiver.”)

    J.

  9. mantis says:

    A person in his position should be able to claim that they are anything they want.

    Yes, people should legally be allowed to shoot their mouths off about themselves if they like, even if they’re lying.

    He should legally be able to claim his as a PHD in water management, medicine anything?

    Depends on to whom the claims are made and for what purpose. Claiming to hold degrees you don’t, in certain contexts, can be fraud, and thus illegal.

    Any pundit on T.V. can claim to be a Doctor, former F.B.I agent, Oscar winner, etc as long as they didn’t make that claim to get the job?

    I don’t think it even matters if they lied to get the job, as far as TV pundits go, with the exception of FBA agent. Impersonating a federal officer is illegal. Impersonating a doctor or award winner is likely not (however practicing medicine without a license certainly is).

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    Clinton logic lol…………

  11. hey norm says:

    Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it. – Geo. Costanza
    I lie every second of the day. My whole life is a sham. – Geo. Costanza
    You know I always wanted to pretend I was an architect. – Geo. Costanza

    Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don’t stare at it. It’s too risky. Ya get a sense of it and then you look away. – Jerry Seinfeld

    The Seinfeld qoute is off topic – but good advice nonetheless.

  12. Jay Tea says:

    It takes two people to lie. One to lie, and one to listen. — Homer Simpson

    J.

  13. Vast Variety says:

    I get the politicians, but why the other examples?

    Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council continues to push the lie that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles. They also continue to falsify research in an attempt to prove that homosexuality is a mental disorder and can be cured.

    Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association believes that the 1st amendment only protects Christians. Also, he, along with Scott Lively, who was once part of the AFA and is now the President of the Abiding Truth Ministries promote the idea that Hitler was gay and that only homosexuals were allowed in the SS “because only gays could be that brutal.” When in truth somewhere around 3 million gays were sent to the death camps.

    The National Organization for Marriage continues to use the falsified research from the AFA and the FRC to promote the idea that gays are unworthy of equal protections under the law.

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/the-hard-liners

  14. John425 says:

    The Ninth also doesn’t want Sen. John Kerry’s military record to be examined too closely so they put the kabosh on calling people out on their war records. Like that creep Sen. Blumenthal of CT.

  15. mantis says:

    The Ninth also doesn’t want Sen. John Kerry’s military record to be examined too closely so they put the kabosh on calling people out on their war records.

    Another conspiracy! As we all know, the 9th circuit decides most cases based on how they would affect John Kerry’s career.

  16. Maggie Mama says:

    “…….and giving the government the power to punish speech just because it is untruthful establishes a dangerous precedent:”

    Don’t we already have that? You don’t even have to be under oath. Lying to a Federal agent is punishable under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. The scope of that code has increased over the years to include even the jurisdiction of the continually growing Federal bureaucracy and its many agencies.

    Seems to me it is not OK for us to lie to the Feds, but any self-serving politican or bureaucrat is permitted to lie TO THE PEOPLE.

    It’s called protected speech but it protects their a$$es, not ours.

    Charming, darling, just charming.

  17. John425,

    Your theory sort of falls apart once one realizes that Judge Kozinski, Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was appointed by Ronald Reagan

  18. steve says:

    I agree that this was the correct decision. The liar will, presumably, bear the consequences at the next election.

    Steve

  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    Vast Variety, as crazy as some of this sounds if it is true, you site me the Southern Poverty Law Center….lol……

  20. Vast Variety says:

    G.A.Phillips, It’s easy enough to verify by simply following the sources quoted by the SPLC, or you can read Scott Lively’s book, the Pink Swastika. The SPLC is far from the only organization that has pointed out the falsehoods promoted by FRC and the others. Also, no one has yet to prove to me that there is a credibility problem with the SPLC. If you have some evidence to the contrary I’d love to read it.

  21. Vast Variety says:

    G.A.Phillips, you can also go right the web sites of these organizations and see the lies for yourself, such as this one from the FRC’s Q&A page.

    http://www.frc.org/whats-wrong-with-letting-same-sex-couples-marry

    Do homosexuals pose a threat to children?

    Homosexual men are far more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexuals. The evidence for this lies in the findings that:

    · Almost all child sexual abuse is committed by men; and

    · Less than three percent of American men identify themselves as homosexual; yet

    · Nearly a third of all cases of child sexual abuse are homosexual in nature (that is, they involve men molesting boys). This is a rate of homosexual child abuse about ten times higher than one would expect based on the first two facts.

  22. Wayne says:

    Re “Impersonating a federal officer is illegal”
    Why is that? Because they passed a law saying so. Why is it against the law to claim you received a Medal of Honor when you didn’t? Because they passed a law saying so.

    If you don’t like the law change it. Personally I like it. It is a special case law and it should remain a “special” case law. I don’t want to outlaw all lying but do believe there are special cases. . Saying we should simply ignore laws because we don’t like them is going down a dangerous path.

  23. mantis says:

    Why is that? Because they passed a law saying so. Why is it against the law to claim you received a Medal of Honor when you didn’t? Because they passed a law saying so.

    Wrong questions. The question you should be asking is why some laws are unconstitutional while other, similar laws are not. There are differences between pretending to have received a medal and pretending to be law enforcement or some other government official. Can’t you think of any?

    Saying we should simply ignore laws because we don’t like them is going down a dangerous path.

    Nobody’s saying that. The 9th circuit has ruled the law unconstitutional. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Well jay, you are a proven liar here on OTB, so you probably have some real insight into this issue.

  25. ptfe says:

    @Wayne: Impersonating a federal officer is a public safety problem, in that federal officers have particular duties and capabilities that civilians don’t. The law against such impersonation makes that lie dependent on gaining something of value out of the lie — i.e. it’s legal to lie and tell someone at that you, say, work for the Census Bureau if you want to impress the girl at the coffee shop, but if you do the same at the Census Bureau building, you are attempting to gain access to a building housing sensitive records; likewise, it would be legal to tell someone at a bar that you work for the FBI, as long as you then don’t attempt to appropriate any of the powers of an FBI agent as a result of that deception.

    That argument falls flat, though, when someone claims to be a decorated war veteran for the purposes of garnering support from the general public. Being a decorated war veteran grants you, what, access to the VA? (Which would also be illegal to attempt, as per previous notes about lying to a federal agent, as well as [potentially] defrauding the federal government.) If the general public is incapable of looking up your war status when you want to woo them with deceit, that’s their own problem.

    Just for reference:

    TITLE 18 | PART I | CHAPTER 43 | § 912

    § 912. Officer or employee of the United States

    Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

    (Obviously, emphasis mine.)

  26. tom p says:

    My ex lied pathologically, in pursuit of various frauds as well as sympathy. However NO gov’t agency ever prosecuted her for fraud (they could have, but it might have been difficult)(she DID end up in prison, but it was not for fraud…. it was for her 3rd DWI in 2 yrs) I was contacted many times over the years about various scams that she pulled but was never prosecuted for….

    It bothers me that some one is prosecuted over a lie they told that never hurt anyone….
    but that many that actually DID hurt someone are never prosecuted….

    Why? Because it is not so easy to prove a positive…..

    But saying you recieved the MOH is easy to disprove….

  27. Jay Tea says:

    Anjin, put on your big-girl panties and get over yourself. Your whining about how I hurt your feelings is getting most tiresome.

    J.

  28. Wayne says:

    Re “Nobody’s saying that. The 9th circuit has ruled the law unconstitutional. That’s how it’s supposed to work”

    I’m not saying the 9th circuit should be ignored but it isn’t the end of the process. Unlike the Obama administration which has ignored multiple courts orders and findings, I think the ruling should be adhered to until higher up say otherwise.

    I am just pointing out that there are other limits on lies. Will the Supreme Court state that the other two branches overstep their power in this case? We don’t know yet.

  29. anjin-san says:

    > Your whining about how I hurt your feelings is getting most tiresome.

    My feelings are not hurt at all Jay. Only someone I respect can hurt my feelings. I do get a little pissed off when a guy lies about things I say. Repeatedly, in your case. Most guys will tell you it is not out of line for me to feel that way. They also might tell you that getting snotty when you are called on putting words in someone’s mouth is a little weak.

    But this is the internet, so a guy like you can talk some smack and get away with it. Out in the real world? You would punk out in a heartbeat. You know it, I know it, and everyone here knows it.

    Oh, and Jay? “big-girl panties” – kind of a sissy line for a guy to use. But stick with it. You wear it well.

  30. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, anjin. You really do obsess with me, and it’s so flattering.

    Got nothing to say on topic, but you gotta get your digs in at me. Nice priorities. Again, flattering.

    And if you’re going to speculate on my psyche, let me say this: if you did confront me directly, in person, over your whiny little issues, I’d freely acknowledge them. And if you threatened me physically, I wouldn’t back down, I wouldn’t run, I wouldn’t hit first.

    I’m no fighter. I got too many health issues. If you attacked me, I’d fight back, but probably most ineffectively. I got way, way too many health issues to be a good fighter, and I know it.

    But you’d better kill me, because I’d then devote my life to putting you in jail. I’d do whatever I had to do to take away your freedom and everything you own and value.

    Here’s a little secret, anjin: “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I have no life, I have little to live for, so I don’t have the normal self-preservation instincts. That’s why I don’t run from confrontations in real life. Doesn’t faze me. I am an “internet tough guy” because there’s very little anyone can threaten me with. I just don’t care.

    Back on the topic… the court made the right call. This kind of scumbaggery is something that we, as a society, should deal with, not the legal system. If there are other crimes involved, such as fraud, let those be punished; but simply lying about stealing valor… that should be publicized far and wide, its perpetrators shunned and scorned, and I still like my “license to vets” idea.

    J.

  31. anjin-san says:

    Jay, take your own advice. Get over yourself. I have not been in a fight in a long time. Decades. I have much better things to do with my time, and I am a really a peaceful hippie at heart.

    But I did tend bar in clubs for many years. It can be a rough business. Sometimes things get a little tight, and you have to look a guy in the eye to see what he is about. I never did have a guy call me out in one of those situations. You? I don’t have to look you in the eye to tell what you are about.

    > I have no life, I have little to live for

    I believe this. It echos throughout everything you say. Not sure what to tell you about that. I am old enough that I have to take a few pills in the morning to keep everything copasetic, so I have a little empathy. Perhaps if your attitude and approach to people were a little different, you would be rich in friends. Then you would would have more to live for. So instead of working up a fantasy about “taking away my freedom and everything you own and value”, why don’t you try and generate a little positive energy? Being straight with people is good start, be in out in the real world or here on the internet.

    Try being consistent. In your last post you are going on about a guy who is a scumbag liar, but when I call you on lying about things I say, it is “whiny”.

    Tell you what. Just stop lying about shit I say. We won’t agree about politics, but we won’t have any personal acrimony either. I never said anything “hateful” about Michelle Malkin, and you know it. I certainly never said anything that would lead anyone to think I felt she deserved the family tragedy she is enduring. I know all about family tragedy from firsthand experience, and I don’t wish it on anyone.

  32. Jay Tea says:

    I never said anything “hateful” about Michelle Malkin, and you know it.

    No, anjin, I don’t know that. Because, quite frankly, you and wr and mantis and a couple others tend to blur together in my subconscious, and I lose track of precisely who says what because 1) I have higher priorities for my mental faculties, and B) there’s little difference in what you all say to me. I my memory is more “old and tired mimeographic” instead of ‘photographic” (part of how I’m falling apart, I suspect), and most of the time I don’t remember or care about the particulars.

    I’ve developed a thick skin online, having been blogging for just over seven years. I’m used to insults and trash talks and outright lies, and most of the time I ignore them. I’m nowhere near as important as what I’m writing — and writing about.

    What I am mildly curious about is why you’re fixated on me so much. You have not said word one on the topic at hand here, just giving me crap — which does nothing but give me vague amusement and feed my ego on how important I am to you, thank you very much.

    Anything to contribute to said topic, or you gonna just use Doug’s piece to continue your vendetta against me? That’s pretty rude to him…

    Doug, for my own involvement in this utterly irrelevant sidebar, I apologize.

    J.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Jay- you are right about one thing, too much time has been wasted on you. But a quick thought- wanting someone to quit lying about what you say is not a “vendetta”. It’st a reasonable expectation.

    At any rate, you are clearly not going to own you own words. Well, you are who you are. The rest of us can only feel vaguely sorry for you.

  34. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, I own all my words. Well, not legally, but morally. And I do not deny anything I ever said.

    I just don’t care about rehashing the trivial ones. And I consider personal attacks, for the most part, trivial and utterly meaningless.

    My policy is simple: my tone is set by the other party. Friendly, collegial, jocular, petty — I respond to like with like. The one exception is anger — I try not to let my anger get away from me. Instead, I go for mockery.

    You wanna start fresh, being a bit more civil? Fine. I have reverse Italian Alzheimer’s — I have problems remembering grudges. Takes more effort than I feel I can spare.

    J.

  35. wr says:

    Jay Tea — “I have trouble remembering grudges. Now let me run down the long list of people I’m mad at for pointing out when I’ve said stupid things. I can’t remember who said what because my brain is so busy with important things, so I’ll assume that whoever I’m talking to has said something awful and excuse my own behavior with this unsupported accusation.”

    Yee-haw.

  36. Jay Tea says:

    Once again, wr, hush — the grownups are speaking.

    J.

  37. mantis says:

    Because, quite frankly, you and wr and mantis and a couple others tend to blur together in my subconscious, and I lose track of precisely who says what because 1) I have higher priorities for my mental faculties

    If only you had access to some record of what people have written! Wait, what’s this Internet thing I’m currently using? No matter, I’ve got higher priorities than responding to what people actually write. It’s much easier to tear at straw.

  38. Jay Tea says:

    mantis, poking through comments at Wizbang is easy for me — I have editorial access, and can search, sort, and study at my leisure. Other sites, I lack the web fu. So I don’t bother.

    In your case, it’s a bit more painful. I was actually getting ready to sponsor you for authorship (or, at least, an offer of same) when you pulled your Charles Johnson move and declared that anyone to the right of you was dangerously crazy.

    Again, I paraphrase. But not that much.

    J.

  39. mantis says:

    when you pulled your Charles Johnson move

    Again with Charles Johnson? I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with that guy.

    and declared that anyone to the right of you was dangerously crazy.

    Did I? Hmm, no, I did not do that. You do like a strawman, don’t you? I certainly gave you plenty of shit for your mealy-mouthed approval of violent revolution and your gun-toting friends killing liberals because they don’t get their way politically, but that’s a far cry from declaring everyone on the right of me dangerously crazy. After your descent into full-bore wingnut paranoia town, added to the fact that Kevin decided to stock Wizbang with a bunch of two-bit Redstate/Townhall clone hacks with absolutely nothing interesting to say that I can’t just find in Freeperville, and it just became to pathetic and pointless to play your reindeer games anymore. The place was somewhat interesting when you were somewhat sane and Paul was at least posting interestingly provocative writings, but nowadays it’s the same old shit every wingnut blog pumps out. I regularly read a good number of real conservatives and libertarians who are all to the right of me and quite interesting, thoughtful people. I don’t consider them dangerous in the slightest. You and the rest of the single-helix crowd at Wizbang don’t qualify. Sorry you’re a hack, but don’t blame me. And try to get over Charles Johnson, pal. I doubt the guy thinks about you at all.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s a thought, mantis: start your own blog and call it “Wizbang and Jay Tea suck.” There, you can vent about how awful we are to your heart’s content, and stop sucking up OTB’s bandwidth. Lord knows you sound like you got enough material for months.

    J.

  41. anjin-san says:

    > You wanna start fresh, being a bit more civil

    Pass. The more I see of your act, the more tired it is. I will leave you to your rationalizations about your behavior.

  42. mantis says:

    Here’s a thought, mantis: start your own blog and call it “Wizbang and Jay Tea suck.”

    Didn’t talk about you at all until you started commenting here so often. Notice how I’m not posting on your blog? That isn’t because I’m dying to talk about you.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    Didn’t realize you were this blog’s doorman, mantis. Wanna show me your ID?

    Tell you what: you wanna talk Wizbang, meander over to Wizbang. Drop me an e-mail and I’ll even set up a posting where you can comment to your heart’s content. But from now on, I’m not going to rehash old crap with you here. It’s rude to the site’s owners. I don’t appreciate people bringing outside baggage to Wizbang, and I don’t think I should do it here.

    J.

  44. mantis says:

    Didn’t realize you were this blog’s doorman, mantis.

    Was that my point? It was not, and you know it.

    Tell you what: you wanna talk Wizbang, meander over to Wizbang. Drop me an e-mail and I’ll even set up a posting where you can comment to your heart’s content.

    No thanks.

    But from now on, I’m not going to rehash old crap with you here.

    Fine by me. Why don’t you stop bringing it up then, dipshit?

  45. anjin-san says:

    > Didn’t realize you were this blog’s doorman, mantis. Wanna show me your ID?

    Says the self-appointed OTB bandwidth and thread monitor…

    > and stop sucking up OTB’s bandwidth

    > or you gonna just use Doug’s piece

  46. Jay Tea says:

    Great, mantis. Now you got anjin doing it, too.

    Fortunately, two bedbugs are only slightly more annoying than one… and I don’t think you two are likely to breed.

    J.

  47. mantis says:

    Now you got anjin doing it, too.

    I’m no more responsible for anjin than I am for Charles Johnson, Jay.

    And we aren’t bedbugs because this ain’t your bed. If you have a problem with the commenters on this site, take it up with James Joyner. Or go back to your hole where you and your cohorts can delete inconvenient and annoying comments all you want, since that’s your thing. You may have noticed that telling me what I should and shouldn’t talk about doesn’t work all that well on sites you don’t run.

  48. Dr. Nick Riviera says:

    Soooo….

    Is it protected speech if I say that I’m a surgeon who can safely remove your pancreas at home, or an MD who can advise you on AIDS treatment…even though I’m just a guy who likes to wear a white jacket and stethoscope?

    Is it protected speech if I do this in a clinic?