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Friday, January 28, 2022

ACLU Investigates Censorship in Juneau


Photo from Gavel2Gavel.

Last week, on two consecutive days, an assortment of government vans from at least two different entities, parked in front of the Capitol building in Juneau, blocking protesters who had come with signs to demonstrate. The protesters had been clearly visible from certain offices in the Capitol.

Joe Miller’s blog describes the situation as reported by en eyewitness:

“The trucks were parked across the street from the capital building, in the “active loading and unloading zone” and in the road congesting traffic, obviously in answer to a command to block the protesters. There were witnesses at the protest who heard the commands being given to the drivers of the trucks. When one of the drivers left his truck there, he looked at the protesters and said “Just doing what I was told, sorry”. The trucks were left in place for at least an hour and a half. Someone observing the situation, Ted Deats, went into the capital and told Senator John Coghill’s office about what was being done. After Senator Coghill’s office called Commissioner Becky Holtberg, the vehicles were removed. Later that day, when we were sitting in our rental van, the same Department of Administration truck drove by, and the driver gestured at us that he was keeping his eye on us.”

The whole incident has been a remarkable thought exercise in Constitutional rights, and an opportunity to test personal beliefs and commitments.

The protesters were not there with “It’s Our Oil” signs, they were there with bloody and graphic pictures of mangled fetuses. They were there to protest abortion. You can argue that this type of protest does nothing to endear the cause to moderates. You can argue that it angers people, more than it persuades. You can argue that it traumatizes groups of school children touring the Capitol. You can argue that they are on the wrong side of the issue. But as the law stands now, you cannot argue their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble at the steps of their seat of power. The Capitol belongs to them too.

And yes, I did blur the image above. And no, I’m not stomping on the First Amendment. I’m simply choosing to make the point the way I see fit, and consider appropriate. Which is also my Constitutional right. See how that works both ways?

For progressives in Alaska, this is our Fred Phelps issue. This is where the rubber meets the road. Each political party has their own favorite Constitutional amendments, and others the prefer not to think about. The right clings to the second and the tenth, and the left has the first and the fourteenth.

So, if lovers of the first amendment have the conviction of their principles, they will remember the quote attributed to Voltaire:

“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

So, if social progressives can suck it up and realize that these people have just as much right to wave their signs as the Westboro Baptist Temple does to tell us “God Hates Fags,” as we do to promote marriage equality and reproductive choice, then the question becomes, who sent the vans (which are publicly owned) to block the protesters? Drivers of the vans said they were just following orders. Whose?

The Governor, the Senate Majority, and the House Majority are all Republican. And yet, the anti-choice position tends to also be Republican. But as we know, the Alaska GOP has been vigorously passing the ketchup and cannibalizing itself in a very public way. The “old guard” Republicans who are more moderate on social issues but deeply corrupt corporate tools vs. the “new guard” of Ron Paul devotees who tend to be on the whacky fringe of social issues but appear to value integrity and honesty in government. It’s a pickle. Which goes well with ketchup.

So, if the left has to swallow the unpleasantness of defending people they vehemently disagree with, the right has to swallow this: The ACLU is on their side.

Sorry Tea Party. You’re just going to have to admit it. Repeat after me. Ready?


(the ACLU)

is not…

(is not)

a partisan organization

(a partisan organization)

There. You did very well. And thank you.

Of course, the ACLU has often been on the side of the political right, but it’s much easier, when fighting for your own anti-Constitutional beliefs on occasion, to call the ACLU a bunch of liberal hacks. Sorry folks, they fight for your rights too.

Yesterday, the ACLU of Alaska asked the Governor’s Office and the Alaska Department of Administration to share the public records of how, for 45 minutes on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, official vehicles from the Department of Administration blocked the protest.

“The First Amendment comes first for a reason: we will vigorously defend the right of all activists to peacefully protest and present their views,” said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. He continued, “While we support a woman’s constitutional right to reproductive choice, everyone has the right to peacefully protest and the government may not pick and choose who gets to speak. We are happy that Governor Parnell said this censorship was ‘totally inappropriate,’ and we agree, but we still need to know how and why the Department of Administration thought that it was okay to park its vehicles in front of these peaceful protestors. Today’s public records request is the first step to ensure this will not happen again.”

The ACLU also asked for the policies that led the Department of Administration to block these protestors. “We want to know why some state employees thought this was the right thing to do,” said Joshua A. Decker, the ACLU of Alaska attorney who sent today’s request, “and we want to make sure that the State is writing new procedures to make sure this is the last time Alaska blocks free, peaceful speech.”

Under Alaska law, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Administration normally have 10 working days to respond to public records requests. They must also turn over copies of all public records, unless those records are legally privileged or subject to one of the narrow exceptions to the Alaska Public Records Act – for instance if they contain personal private information about an individual, or discuss deliberative process, or fall under “executive privilege.”

The Alaska Public Records Act is our state version of the federal FOIA (Freedom of Information Act request) “It allows all Alaskans to find out public information from their government. It is how we ensure that our elected and appointed officials are carrying out the people’s business and protecting our rights,” Decker concluded. “We look forward to promptly receiving these records from the State.”

Stay tuned.



56 Responses to “ACLU Investigates Censorship in Juneau”
  1. strangelet says:

    Good on the ACLU. Even though I disagree with the demonstrators, and even though their photos are extremely misleading (even if they do represent legal abortions, they represent a tiny fraction. Pictures of typical cases would be inconveniently un-babby-like), no government agency should obstruct their right to assemble and peacefully demonstrate.

    It sucks that political protesters from the left have not always been accorded the same right (e.g., “free-speech zones”), but this is one of those cases where we have to support the principle, even if our opponents don’t, because otherwise we will become they.

  2. beth. says:

    For what it’s worth, I knew IMMEDIATELY I saw the photo, that it had been censored. (The fuzzy blur across a portion of it was the dead give-away). And, you know what? I was thankful to Jeanne that she’d decided to discuss the issue at hand *without* showing the details of the photos on the demonstrator’s signs.

    I have seen the photos before. I did not need to see them again. I did, however, need to see the overall size of the signs being held by the demonstrators and the backdrop/location where they were demonstrating.

    Jeanne allowed me to do that while exercising her –and my– right not to have material(s) deemed by ‘community standards’ to be offensive and/or objectionable, assaulting my senses (and sensibilities) as I read the article about (alleged) censorship BY the government OF a private citizen.

    So. Joe, lest you feel the need to ‘awaken’ all the ‘flats readers to the fact that the blurring of a portion of a photo in an article on the site is *a type of* “censorship”, let me assure you that I, for one, completely understand that it is. Completely! I’m fairly sure the vast majority of ‘flats readers also understand. And, for the reasons Jeanne has patiently explained to you as her ‘motive’ for so doing, I, for one, also greatly AND completely appreciate her ‘censorship’ of the images posted. Greatly AND completely appreciated it from the very first moment I saw it. beth.

  3. DW says:

    Guys like Joe Blow crack me up. So smart! Please, continue, your arguments are FASCINATING.

    *makes popcorn, puts feet up, waits for more deep bon mots*

  4. Jeanne Devon says:

    Oh, Joe. Really?
    Several here have made the point very well, but I’ll chime in. I am not an elected official, being paid with your dollars to serve the public as a lawmaker. I am allowed to say what I like, in the way I like. This blog is like my living room and you are invited guests. If I had people over to discuss the first amendment and didn’t feel like having pictures of aborted fetuses in my living room, it’s not censorship. I think the protesters are wrong. I think our federal abortion laws are right. I think that the method the protesters use to get their message across is harmful to their cause, and upsetting to people. I choose not to do that. It is helpful to the story for people to see the image of the protesters, get an idea of what kind of signs we’re talking about, and have a physical context for the reporting of the story. So, I included the picture and chose not to employ the “shock and disgust” tactics of the protesters to make my point, so I blurred out what I personally find offensive. I don’t know what to do for you.

    News flash – there are a lot of offensive and disgusting things out there that I choose not to replicate.

    Every single article on this blog has an author who makes decisions about what to say and what not to say – what to show and what not to show. Every newspaper and magazine article and broadcast does the same thing.

    It is not the same as a government official, or state entity making decisions about what citizens can and cannot engage in peaceful protest on the steps of the state Capitol.

    It’s actually stunning to me that this needs explanation.

    • Joe Blow says:

      As have a number of others, you’ve gone off on the tangent of thinking I’m advocating that you have no choice but to publish the pictures. Not my point. Nothing similar have I’ve offered.

      My point is that your decision to blur the pictures is a form of censorship. Yes, you’re not the government, but you’re still practicing a form of censorship. I’m not saying it’s the same. I am saying it’s merely censorship in another form and it needs to be recognized as such.

      The public has come to accept a certain levels of censorship that are dangerous to our free society. When we rail against censorship, we need also to reflect on all it’s forms.

      There are commenters here who have stated that it’s not censorship if publishers do it. I’d like them to explain Texas textbook controversies using their illogical presumption. It appears they don’t wish to acknowledge that cognitive dissonance.

      What is too graphic? Should the public be protected from seeing graphic images? In which cases? Some, but not other instances? War atrocities? Our American society is shielded from seeing the horrors of war, and yet our society has little hesitancy to enter into a war. Not so, according to studies, with societies which regularly see graphic depictions of the horrors, it’s known that those societies don’t take up arms without a little more consideration. War wasn’t sanitized for them.

      The pictures in question here? Are they actually depictions of what they purport to be? Who knows? Can anyone viewing the blurred photos make honest assessments about those pictures? No, they’re left with their imaginations, and all too often, people’s imaginations far exceed any reality.

      You’re right, we all decide how and what we choose to say or not say. That doesn’t mean that in all cases we all make the best decisions in that regard.

      It may very well be that as a society we sanitize and censor a bit too much for our own good.

      Personally, I’m stunned, though not surprised, that people seem so averse to even consider or discuss whether or not their presumptions are correct. I expect that in some venues,….I didn’t expect it so much to be so prevalent here.

      • Jeanne Devon says:

        “Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship.”

        People engage in self-censorship ALL the time. It’s deciding what is appropriate or not. People censor what comes out of their mouths continually. Well, some do more than others.

        The point of this article is about moral and political censorship.

        “Moral censorship is the removal of materials that are obscene or otherwise considered morally questionable.”

        I removed material that I considered obscene. I don’t have to (nor have I ever) included graphic and violent pictures on my blog just for shock value. This is not new. I don’t want to expose my readers to those images. It’s my choice. Whether the protesters should be allowed to and whether “the public” should be shielded is not up to me. It’s up to the courts. What goes on here is up to me. Period. If you or the protesters want your graphic images out there, this country is nice enough to allow you to get your own blog and do with it what you wish.

        “Political censorship occurs when governments hold back information from their citizens. This is often done to exert control over the populace and prevent free expression that might foment rebellion.”

        This is what the article was about. It has nothing to do with anything else. And I’m not a government, and I’m not telling those people that in real life they have no right to say what they want to say.

        I think we all know the difference in what we’re talking about, so enough. Please.

        And if you want to see the actual pictures, I sourced them in the caption. You are more than welcome to go to the Gavel2Gavel Facebook page and take a look.

        • Joe Blow says:

          Despite what you may presume, I’ve not suggested in any way that you are telling people they have no right to say what they want to say. Nor have I questioned your right to practice censorship.

          If you don’t want to discuss at what point censorship becomes acceptable or not, don’t do it.

          The repeated inferences that I am arguing for or against things I’ve not mentioned is a less than civil response to what I did say.

          To infer that I am aligned with the protesters is similarly lacking in probity.

          I’ve requested that others consider the effects of censorship great and small, I regret that so many can’t seem to deal with how they might define such effects for themselves. And I’m very sorry that a few won’t even attempt self-reflection before inanely hurling unfounded accusations.

          Evidently I was mistaken that discussions involving critical thinking and honest comprehensive assessments might be able to play out in this forum. I get it, ….no one here wishes to question their presumptions, they prefer their presumptions despite evidence to the contrary.

          • Alaska Pi says:

            i love how “discussions involving critical thinking and honest comprehensive assessments ” are supposed to include calling people hypocrites, posing arguments that beg the question and all without responding to concerns about false equivalents in one’s own argument and the like. How wonderfully civil that all works out to be .
            No not really.hehehehe

            “they prefer their presumptions despite evidence to the contrary. ”
            I’m still waiting on evidence to the contrary Joe.If had you actually provided more than an absolutist diatribe on the evils of censorship and the shaky principle of stones and glass houses routine- yeah maybe I’d think about some of it. But twas easier to call me deficient in comprehension and adamantly confused, wasn’t it?
            Thank you for all your concern and work to save us from ourselves, me in particular. You have no idea what it has meant to me.

            • Jeanne Devon says:

              Well, let’s simplify it further then.

              “If you don’t want to discuss at what point censorship becomes acceptable or not, don’t do it.”

              Happy to.

              Blogger deciding what images to post and what content to use, and in what form = Acceptable.

              Government entities barring peaceful protesters from the Capitol steps because they don’t like what they’re saying = Unacceptable.

              • Joe Blow says:

                I understood as much earlier on, Jeanne

                Your preference is that censorship = ok as long as you’re the one doing it.

                I got that.

              • mike from iowa says:

                Call it a day,Joe. Your mumbling to yourself. I’m starting to worry about you.

              • joe blow says:

                You worry about yourself mike, it’s the bigger challenge for you.

                Speak to the context if you are able.

            • Joe Blow says:

              It wasn’t that it was easier, it’s that it was so much more aptly descriptive.

      • The Lawman says:

        You mean the censorship of that HUGE trust account that Senator Hollis French knows about the
        “birthright owner” that was worth 108 billion in 1989?

        How’s it’s worth how much? and what accounts is that money hidden in?

        This is small potatoes bubba boo…

        When that “owner” walks into international court first, get referred to US federal court then to Alaska courts…Sean will be out of office or in jail and so will all the folks who “gave him a hand ” in it all…

        Since little miss can’t be wrong Sarah Palin is no longer governor – you Sean will take the hit…

        Open and Transparent Government Sean….

        lol….sure….someone send him some cookies…

        A flood is a coming to the Village of Idiots in Juneau…

        I say go after them for all it’s worth…call the clean team…

        Go Jeanne go…let em all have it…sock it to them…in words of course…

  5. Alaska Cod Piece says:

    ParnOil doesn’t give a dang about Alaska’s statutes of limitations on records requests, petition responses, legislative approvals and pesty provisions like that!

    Note the Chuitna citizens petition asking for buffer zones, similar to logging, should a strip mine be permitted – Gov GiveAway and DNR blew off the petition deadline by more than a year and are still dragging their feet on that.

    And remember how ParnOil changed the mission statements for both the governor’s office and DNR w/out legislative approval, as required by law? Pffffftttttt!

    Like his mentor, $reech Paylin, SP2 believes he is above the law as long as he can get away with it. Hey, it’s working for him so far!

    • Alaska Pi says:

      This is the whole other piece of this situation.

      Your Pffffftttttt! is well said and well aimed.
      Now- we really do have to wait and see if Mr OpaqueGovernment and his administration comply with the open records request.
      Would be interesting if he decided to hide behind deliberative process…

      • Alaska Pi says:

        I didn’t say that very well…
        I think it would be supremely ironic (and dishonest) should Mr OpaqueGovernment decide that his press release proclamation about this/these events allowed for dismissing the records request as infringing on his pre-decisional communications but would not be surprised should he do so…

        “The [Alaska Supreme] court articulated the substantive requirements of the deliberative process privilege, which is designed to protect open and free discourse among governmental decision-makers, as being two-fold: (1) the communication at issue must be “pre-decisional” to be protected; and (2) it must be “deliberative” in nature, reflecting the give and take of the deliberative process and containing opinions, recommendations or advice about agency policies”

  6. `ugavic says:

    Although I strongly disagree with the message of these protesters, and their method of delivering it, I DO strongly stand by the right for them to do so.

    Hopefully the State of Alaska will be forthcoming in their release of record, polices, etc. I will try and remain optimistic that this will happen, and in a timely manner.

    Thank you for bringing our attention to this and also to the ACLU for standing up for the rights of all

  7. Joe Blow says:

    The headline speaks of the ACLU investigating ‘censorship’,

    ….who decided the pictures needed censoring, and why?

    How does one construct a narrative which purports to be indignant towards censorship while at the same time consciously accepting censorship and/or intently practicing the same?

    • mike from iowa says:

      Did you read the article? The answers you seek are quite clearly laid out by the author and are eloquently explained in easy to understand verbiage.

      • Joe Blow says:

        Yeah, mike, I read the article. That’s why I asked the question.

        Did you happen to look at the pictures above? That picture is censored, or can’t you see that?

        That’s why I ask about someone feigning disgust for censorship at the same time they are practicing the same.

        Nothing at all is clearly or eloquently offered in the article that addressed that glaring contradiction.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          Perhaps not explicitly enough for you but obvious nonetheless… if you think about it for a moment.
          This is NOT public property.
          Mudflats , this “place”, is privately owned. We are here as guests. There is no legal basis for saying the owner(s) may not disallow that which they find offensive.
          The protest took place on public property, seemingly within rules for public protest, and there are multiple legal reasons , as well as moral, for it to have been allowed in that public space.
          Censorship has to do with public venues not private.
          No censorship here. None.

          • Joe Blow says:

            except of course, your definition of censorship is in error.

            • Alaska Pi says:

              except of course , you are incorrect 🙂

              • Joe Blow says:

                Your source supports my premise, it does not confirm or support your contention.

              • Joe Blow says:

                Speaking of who might be constructing red herrings, no one, least of all me, has ever made the contention you created and attempted to assign to me.

                (that’s a textbook definition example of a red herring right there)

                You say, and i’ll quote: “There is no legal basis for saying the owner(s) may not disallow that which they find offensive.”

                No one, least of all me has made any kind of statement declaring, or inferring in any way that the owners can’t do whatever they choose.

                I did speak of hypocrisy, and I’m having to assume you don’t comprehend the concept of demanding others not do exactly that which you do.

              • Alaska Pi says:

                Oh Joe.
                here’s what you said
                “.who decided the pictures needed censoring, and why?”
                Assumption of censorship with no supporting argument.

                “How does one construct a narrative which purports to be indignant towards censorship while at the same time consciously accepting censorship and/or intently practicing the same? ”
                false equivalents but pointed out moderately politely.
                perhaps not as explicitly as you would like or appear to be demanding .
                rather than make an argument supporting your idea that it is inconsistent with indignation over censorship in the public sphere to assert one’s own 1st amendment rights in one’s own space we get treated to all this unsupported yap about hypocrisy whilst you reject any other POV
                Oh yay.
                no red herring , hon.
                take some responsibility for what you said.

              • Joe Blow says:

                The censorship is and was admitted, that’s not a point of contention.

                It’s not a red herring if it’s factual.

              • Alaska Pi says:

                No Joe- no censorship was admitted.
                Within YOUR definition of censorship, which apparently trumps that of the law, philosophical discussions, and everyone who disagrees with you, you see an admission.
                Problem with where this has all gone is that you have yet to make a real and meaningful argument for the use, utility, or purpose which would be served to answer the question(s) about what happened during this protest which AKM has posed here should she have included unblurred images.

              • Joe Blow says:

                sorry pi, …..your deficiencies in comprehension aren’t of that much concern to me. As to the definition of censorship, you’ll have to have someone you trust explain it to you, the only thing you’ve made clear is that you’re adamantly confused.

            • Alaska Pi says:

              deficiencies, confused, adamantly confused , even?!

              “The task, therefore, is not to argue for an unlimited domain of free speech; such a concept cannot be defended. Instead, we need to decide how much value we place on speech in relation to other important ideals such as privacy, security and democratic equality and there is nothing inherent to speech that suggests it must always win out in competition with these values. Speech is part of a package deal of social goods: “speech, in short, is never a value in and of itself but is always produced within the precincts of some assumed conception of the good” (Fish, 1994, ..”

              • joe blow says:

                Cherry-picking links in the hope of finding support for your presumptions only results in you repeating yourself, it won’t cover up the flaws in your presumption.

                The harm principle only speaks to the concerns of the individual, it does not address the liberty of the collective whole of society.

                Mills, as you and maybe one or two others, argues for censorship based on concerns of the individual, ….none of which speaks to the concerns of the collective.

                Narrowing your search will only further that narrowing of your mind.

        • mike from iowa says:

          Yup,the picture is blurred, Jeanne explained her reasoning in simple and straight forward terms…..quite elegantly IMHO! Read Jeanne’s rules of engagement posted under the heading-Comments-and you will see that Jeanne and her associates get to determine content posted on Jeanne’s blog. The picture allows the message from anti-choice groups to be heard loud and clear without graphic visual aids. Jeanne clearly exercised her Ist Amendment rights as is her prerogative. No censorship here. Not even a whiff.

          • Joe Blow says:

            I beg pardon, Jeanne said, “And yes, I did blur the image above. And no, I’m not stomping on the First Amendment. I’m simply choosing to make the point the way I see fit, and consider appropriate. Which is also my Constitutional right. See how that works both ways?”

            I stand somewhat corrected, the who is/was explained, ….the why is much less clear. It’s a stretch to say that the why of it being censored is clearly or eloquently explained. I see something about making a ‘point’ in an acceptable fashion. Acceptable? By what or whose norm? And what exactly is it, that’s unacceptable. A picture? An image? Are those images not found in libraries, or other repositories of public domain? Surely someone, somewhere has judged them to be acceptable. What’s different here? (other than the official or authoritative decision being made as to what’s ‘acceptable and what’s not) That’s merely a descriptive sentence laying out who is doing the censoring.

            Censorship, whether it be of words, ideas or images, isn’t redefined by or modified by situational conditions. It’s not a matter of questioning someone’s First Amendment rights. That’s irrelevant to the assessment. One can be within their ‘rights’ and still be acting as the censor. One doesn’t obviate or cancel out the other, it can most definitely still be a form of censorship.

            As far as censorship only being limited to public arenas, that’s simply delusional simplemindedness. No one can hide censorship behind more excuses than the censors themselves. In fact, it’s all been tried many times before. Whether it’s government, the media, or whoever, public or private, that doesn’t change things, censorship is censorship. It’s someone or some group deciding what you do or don’t get to see or hear. How you can or cannot act.

            Pictures too graphic? War atrocities too gruesome? Ideas too distasteful? Something not ‘socially acceptable’? Don’t care to be confronted with something which might contradict preconceptions? Can’t question or speak ill of the authorities?

            In each instance above, it’s a matter of censorship. You might kid yourselves it’s not censorship if it’s form is personally considered to be acceptable to you, but you can’t fool people that know censorship for what it is, it’s clearly identifiable wherever it raises it’s head. For the act of censorship, even if it is to be an act of omission, it doesn’t depend on any kind of socially acceptable level or condition. Information, ideas, pictures images, actions, etc., if they are controlled, it’s a form of censorship.

            And obviously, I find such cognitive dissonance as I see exemplified here as all too pervasive and I find such to be hypocritical each time I see it. If you accept that you should and can and do perform acts of censorship, you have a shaky foundation from which to complain about anyone else’s acts of censorship. Would not your excuses be equally valid for others? Would not their ‘right’ to censor be equally as valid as your’s? You don’t get to decide that censorship is only those acts others perform and that the act itself just somehow magically doesn’t also apply to your own actions. To attempt such is to declare some sort of grace for yourself that you actively deny to anyone else. Such elitism, however much you might think so, doesn’t wear well in the end.

            • Alaska Pi says:

              Absolutist crap all dolled up in multiple logical fallacies, not the least being bifurcation and an attempt to prove by intimidation, trimmed with bright shiny red herring.

              • mike from iowa says:

                Good to see the “Flying Fickle Finger of PFFFTTT”! show up when needed.(apologies to Laugh In for stealing their stuff)

              • Joe Blow says:

                Your thesaurus hasn’t any words that speak to the actual context?

            • mike from iowa says:

              The “Mudflats” IS NOT a PUBLIC DOMAIN! Get it? You are privileged to be here and obliged to follow Jeanne’s rules.

              • Joe Blow says:

                You believe questioning presumptions is breaking the rules?

              • mike from iowa says:

                The rules is Jeanne gets to edit her blog as she sees fit.

              • Joe Blow says:

                I’ve not made any argument that she can’t make that decision, so it’s disingenuous in the extreme to infer that is something I might have done.

                (see definition of red herring)

              • mike from iowa says:

                You didn’t question presumptions,your first words literally accused Jeanne of censorship. You came looking for an argument. Billy Goats Gruff are looking for trolls. Sounds like it could be right up your alley.

              • Joe Blow says:

                Excuse me, mike, but Jeanne admitted to the act of censorship so it’s not a point of any contention.

                Are you in the habit, as some are, of calling for the troll defense every time someone asks a question you’re not comfortable confronting?

              • mike from iowa says:

                Geez Louise Joe,I thought everyone here has been tolerant to the extreme. Took me a whole day to get to the troll point. BTW that is a first for me. As far as censorship is concerned, we will have to agree to disagree. What you call censorship is careful and protected editing by the editor of this blog. As I have stated before,the protester’s message was not changed nor was the context changed by editing out offensive,graphic pictures. If you are not comfortable with the editing process,and you have made it abundantly clear you are not, I’m sure you can take your disagreeable self to greener,more suitable pastures. You are free to ignore this suggestion from me. I have not heard Jeanne admit to any censorship,she does not have to answer to you or anyone else on HER domain. As to whether or not you are trolling,I say if the shoe fits, wear it proudly.

              • Alaska Pi says:

                mikey- I’m starting to think it is pretty funny you and I , of all people who visit here regularly, are working so hard to get through to Joe.
                How many times have we run right up and stuck our toes over the lines here and been gently reprimanded by AKM or slapped less gently by the larger set of visitors? How many times has the larger set of visitors here come down on us for unpopular ideas and stances?
                I’ve flounced out of here a couple times when the whole place feels too dang moderate for my old lefty heart… and here I am… with you
                OMG- falling on the floor and laughing so hard I bust 2 ribs!!!!!!!!! 🙂

            • Zyxomma says:

              Joe Blow, if you want to see gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses, there are plenty of places for you to look. I’m glad this isn’t one of them, and I’m also glad the ACLU is on the side of the protesters.

              • Joe Blow says:

                I’m also happy that the ACLU is investigating what is likely an illegal act.

                My concern is about censorship and the many other ways it’s practiced and the forms it takes even if it may not be illegal. Whether it’s legal or rightful or whatever, it should still be recognized for what it is. There’s too much censorship that isn’t acknowledged and it’s unhealthy for a democratic free society to allow forms of censorship to become blindly accepted.

                Commenters here have said that if publishers censor material it’s not censorship.

                Think about that. I don’t think they did.

    • John says:

      Jeanne has a first amendment right to decide what she wants to post. She can arbitrarily decide to blur or not blur. It is her right. We get to decide whether we want to read Mudflats. That is our right. It isn’t cencorship when a publisher decides what to publish. It is ony a problem when the government starts making those decisions.

      • Joe Blow says:

        John, don’t be naive.

        • Joe Blow says:

          Textbook publishers excising all references to actual science? Not censorship? Not a problem?

          Fox News deleting facts and spouting strict propaganda in it’s stead? Not censorship? Not a problem?

          Good luck John, you’re going to need it in that world you’re creating for yourself.

          • strangelet says:

            Oh please. You’ve misused this “textbook” analogy to death.

            The reason textbooks are a sensitive issue is that millions of students will be REQUIRED to act as though they take the contents seriously.

            This here is a freaking blog, which people read or don’t read, voluntarily. Nobody is required to look at it, or take it seriously. Therefore, the published content is at the discretion of the publisher. If you don’t like it, ignore it. Or, since AKM seems willing to allow it, complain.

            But you have no grounds to suggest that self-censorship (or, as it is otherwise known, self-control) is somehow wrong. I am employing quite a bit of self-censorship in writing this comment, because I recall that AKM likes to run a polite blog and I do not wish to offend her, or any commenters.

            Incidentally, you must realize that an alternative to posting the photo with the blurring would have been to post no photo at all. Would that be “censorship” in your opinion?

  8. juneaudream says:

    If I had had to cross in front..of the would have been ..somewhat..wrenching..but, once I had seen/understood..I could walk on past..simply choosing to the ..viewing. I have had a history..from about the mid. 1960s..with women who found themselves..facing the choice as to abortion. That continued..up through I believe into about 1994..for the last woman/incident. Is..the picture of human remains..a shock..yes, and that is a real reason I am thrilled the .morning after pills will avail. What..14 years now..held up by so many reasons/processes. As a farm woman..and dealing with ..values that came first..from living in the wild..cultures..before the ..overlay of school, then assorted degrees at college level..I have had a wide history..of dealing with the shock of what the human condition..suffers when a family is shattered by..the poss. of another mouth to feed. There have been religious inner-wars..fought and individual the midnight hours..tossing the sticks, and feeling the sanctity..of the ‘home’ curr. choice..and the images..of an unwanted..expansion. This country, that country, the meld of the dark hours..balancing, balancing..balancing. Tossing the me the path of righteousness, make instrument of its..healthier forms..lead me..lead me. One must..bow their heads for that choice..made by each they ..walked that..thorny ground. regret..and the light of nurture and the support..of clan/family/society. Peace.

  9. Alaska Pi says:

    Thanks AKM!
    Have been watching to see if we can get a real description of what happened here, whodunnit and why.
    Good on the ACLU!
    So totally disagree with this batch o protesters and beaucoup tired of their extremist approaches to this set of issues but not anywhere near ready to accept any ideas that they can’t make fools of themselves in public within the law of peaceful assembly and the like.