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Original post made by Ellen, Downtown, on Jul 25, 2009

Pleasnanton Weekly does track IP addresses just so YOU are aware of this!

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Comments (5)

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Posted by Troy
a resident of Civic Square
on Jul 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy, such as racism, are generally permitted. There are exceptions to the general protection of speech, however, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Other limitations on free speech often balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as property rights for authors and inventors (copyright), interests in "fair" political campaigns (Campaign finance laws), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on Hate speech or fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance. Efforts have been made to ban flag desecration, for example, though currently that act remains protected speech.

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Posted by Allen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Liberty to express opinions and ideas without hindrance, and especially without fear of punishment. Despite the constitutional guarantee of free speech in the United States, legal systems have not treated freedom of speech as absolute. Among the more obvious restrictions on the freedom to say just what one likes where one likes are laws regulating incitement, sedition, defamation, slander and libel, blasphemy, the expression of racial hatred, and conspiracy. The liberal tradition has generally defended freedom of the sort of speech which does not violate others' rights or lead to predictable and avoidable harm, but it has been fierce in that defence because a free interchange of ideas is seen as an essential ingredient of democracy and resistance to tyranny, and as an important agent of improvement. The distinction between an action falling under the description of speech and one which does not is not clear cut, because many non-verbal actions can be seen as making a statement—for example, burning a flag or destroying a symbol. Again, valued freedom of speech embraces publication—writing, broadcasting, distributing recordings—as well as oral delivery of ideas.

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jul 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

The Supreme Court first began to develop a coherent doctrine of First Amendment liberties in a series of decisions arising out of federal legislation designed to stifle opposition to American participation in World War I. Although the Court upheld the convictions of political radicals under these statutes, the kernels of modern free speech doctrine were sown when Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis dissented in Abrams v. United States (1919), a decision upholding the convictions of socialists who opposed the dispatch of American troops to Russia to fight Bolsheviks. In one of his most stirring opinions, Holmes eloquently argued that a free society must be committed to the search for truth.

This need for a free people to test the truth is rooted in classical writings of Western civilization, such as John Milton's Aeropagitica and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. It is closely related to the concept that free speech is vital for a democratic system of government. Another rationale for free speech is that it reflects a social commitment to the value of individual freedom and personal autonomy.

After exercising increasing scrutiny of laws that infringed upon free speech, the Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) established the doctrine that the government may restrain only speech that is likely to incite imminent unlawful action. The First Amendment therefore protects even speech that calls for overthrow of the government or lawless action.

The government may, however, impose reasonable limitations upon the time, place, and manner in which speech is exercised in order to protect public order and the smooth functioning of public administration. In imposing such restrictions, however, the state may not discriminate on the basis of the content of speech since such limitations would permit the state to favor one type of speech over another. Narrow exceptions are drawn for special categories of speech, particularly obscenity and so]called gfighting words,h which could lead to public disturbances. Even in these categories, the Court has gradually expanded the scope of judicial scrutiny. For example, hecklers are generally not permitted to exert a gvetoh over speech by creating a threat of violence and disorder; the state is obligated to protect, not stop, the controversial speaker.

Similarly, the Court has gradually extended the scope of protection for commercial speech, although commercial speech still receives less protection than political speech. In particular, the state may impose sanctions against false or misleading commercial speech or commercial speech that involves an unlawful activity.

Since the 1960s, the Court also has protected symbolic speech, in which political views are expressed without words. For example, the Court overturned state and federal statutes that prohibited the burning of the American flag in Texas v. Johnson (1989) and United States v. *Eichman (1990).

During recent years, the enactment of restrictions upon so]called hate speech has tested the limits of First Amendment doctrine. Proponents of such laws contend that hateful speech directed against women or various minorities fails to promote First Amendment values because it instigates violence, perpetuates discrimination, and interferes with the freedom of expression of its victims. In R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992), the Supreme Court held that a city ordinance that prohibited words that insulted or provoked violence gon the basis of race, color, creed, religion or genderh was unconstitutional because it imposed a content]based discrimination. Lower courts have often overturned similar laws on the same grounds. In Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000), however, the Court sustained a law that permitted a state to enhance the sentence for a battery that was racially motivated.

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Posted by To Allen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2009 at 9:16 pm

"blasphemy, the expression of racial hatred"

Blasphemy and expression of racial hatred are both recognized by the US supreme court as speech protected under the first amendment.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Not only does the Weekly track IP addresses, Jeb releases names and other identifying information as it suits his purpose. Witness the fiasco with Measure G postings. Their terms of service apply only as they choose to apply them, your privacy and your rights are NOT protected.

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